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No charges for online threats against Kelowna mayor, prosecution service says

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran speaks to the media on May 15. The man who was arrested for making alleged online threats towards Basran will not be facing any charges, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced on Tuesday.
Kelowna mayor Colin Basran speaks to the media on May 15. The man who was arrested for making alleged online threats towards Basran will not be facing any charges, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced on Tuesday. Global News

UPDATE: Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran is praising RCMP for their work investigating threats made against him online.

Despite the investigation resulting in no charges, Basran said the incident is an opportunity to rethink intention when posting threatening messages.

“Threatening someone’s safety is not acceptable,” he said in a statement to Global News. “It affected not only me but my entire family, and regardless of your occupation, that is not right.

“In this particular instance, calling the police was the right thing to do. I appreciate how the RCMP handled the situation and want to thank them very much for the thorough investigation. Even though charges weren’t laid, I hope people will think twice before posting messages encouraging violence or harm.”

ORIGINAL STORY:

No charges will be laid against the Okanagan man who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly making online threats against Kelowna mayor Colin Basran, the B.C. Prosecution Service announced Tuesday.

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The threat, which suggested harm to Basran, was made in connection with a development proposal on Groves Avenue in Kelowna.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Kelowna mayor ‘standing up’ to alleged online threats

“After a full and careful review of all the evidence gathered by the investigative agency, the reviewing Crown was unable to conclude that the charge assessment standard had been met,” Dan McLaughlin of the B.C. Prosecution Service said in an email.

According to McLaughlin, in determining whether a prosecution will be initiated, Crown counsel must independently, objectively and fairly measure all the available evidence against a two-part test:

  • Whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction; and, if so,
  • Whether the public interest requires a prosecution.

WATCH BELOW (Aired May 22, 2019): Okanagan woman subjected to online threats after beach confrontation

Jaimie Wlasenko – extended interview
Jaimie Wlasenko – extended interview

“A substantial likelihood of conviction exists where Crown counsel is satisfied there is a strong, solid case of substance to present to the court.

“To reach this conclusion, a prosecutor will consider whether the evidence gathered by the investigating agency is likely to be admissible and available in court; the objective reliability of the admissible evidence; and whether there are viable defences or other legal or constitutional impediments to the prosecution, that remove any substantial likelihood of a conviction.”

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WATCH BELOW (Aired Dec. 3, 2018): School closed for the day as police investigate online threats

Lord Selkirk School Division closed for the day Monday as police investigate online threats
Lord Selkirk School Division closed for the day Monday as police investigate online threats

McLaughlin concluded “in this case the conclusion was that the assessment standard had not been met and no charges have been approved.”

After seeing the online threat, which was posted on social media, Basran held a media conference on May 15.

READ MORE: Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante facing online threats for opposing secularism bill

At that conference, Basran said “more than ever, it’s vital to challenge those who use personal attacks, online bullying or vulgar language to stifle opposing points of view.”

For more B.C. Prosecution Service guidelines, click here.