The Disrespect of a Doltish Buffoon
"While his conduct was disrespectful and in very bad taste, it did not involve vandalism, that is to say spray painting or damage done to the statue, it did not involve planning or deliberation, and it did not involve any repugnant conduct like urination or splitting."
Prosecutor Jon Fuller
"This monument, as we all know, is there to honour those who serve their country, for people who fought for our freedom and that of so many others everywhere in the world."
"Your actions on that particular night showed total dishonour and disrespect for those individuals and the country at large."
"It's clear there has to be a message that this type of offence can't be excused simply as being a youthful prank or a moment of immaturity."
"These types of actions are an insult to veterans, their families and Canadians as a whole. It's not a joke, it's not a YouTube moment here, or a laugh. It is a criminal offence, sir."
Ontario Court Justice Ann Alder
|Maciej Andrej Szczypka hides his face as he leaves the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre on Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2015. PATRICK DOYLE / THE OTTAWA CITIZEN|
To have imposed the full brunt of the law on Maciej Andrej Szczypka would have had consequences of monumental import. Charged with mischief to a war memorial the man could have been removed from Canada with a conviction under that charge. A more charitable view of his trespass on simple decency and respect notched his offence down to simple mischief, to which he was urged by his lawyer to plead guilty, and he did.
There are many who would have no difficulty whatever recommending that the original charge stand. If found guilty through a trial the 22-year-old man would have faced a penalty whose maximum import would be a prison stay of ten years. In which case immigration consequences would have meant that the permanent resident would have his status revoked and be returned to his native Poland from which he had emigrated to Canada with his parents.
He had clambered up on the National Cenotaph a year earlier August. Bystanders present at the time recorded his actions with video cameras. What he proceeded to do was emulate fornicating with the statue claiming later to have been acting out in a drunken stupor. He was arrested and placed in jail, charges brought against him. A $1,300 fine was imposed. And he was ordered to undergo community service with the Salvation Army, undergo alcohol counselling, and become in the process a better human being.