Justice for Fay Paquette sign now

We are writing to you in hopes that you will take under advisement our concerns as you prepare your recommendations to the court for the sentencing of Dale William Eliason.

During the trial of Mr. Eliason, it was revealed that he admitted to his mother that he attacked Ms. Paquette after discovering she was transgendered. He was reported as having told her, "You can imagine how I felt, I just went wild." In his ruling, Justice Rogers found that Eliason chased Paquette, and in a "rage against her", beat her to death. As you are aware, Paquette suffered brutal injuries to her entire body.
As concerned citizens, we deplore and denounce the violent and hate-motivated actions of Dale William Eliason in his brutal murder of Fay Paquette. We would very much appreciate that during sentencing recommendations, Crown Counsel recognize and urge the court to respond appropriately to the hateful nature of her murder.

S. 718.2 (a) (i) of the Criminal Code states that a sentence should be increased if there is evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor. Justice Rogers' ruling acknowledges that Dale Eliason's acts were motivated in part by hate based on sex. It is therefore appropriate that the Crown, in seeking a sentence, request that Justice Rogers consider the hate-motivation of this crime as an aggravating factor, and also that other hate-motivated crimes against transgender people be considered in determining "similar offences committed in similar circumstances" (S. 718.2 (b)). For example, in three recent American cases:

a) On October 31, 2003, Mark Hayes was sentenced to 45 years in prison for two murders. One was of a transgender sex trade worker who he killed after raping her and, in the process of the rape, discovering that she had a penis.

b) In February 2003, Jaron Chase Nabors, one of four men accused of killing Gwen Araujo after discovering she was transgendered at a party, pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to a prison term of 11 years. This term was reduced from life imprisonment on murder charges in exchange for testimony against his co-accused.

c) In September 2001, Steven H. Roman was sentenced to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of Erica Renee Mount, a pre-operative transsexual woman. Roman said that he killed her in a rage upon discovering that she had a penis.

American studies have suggested that over 60\% of transgendered people have been the targets of hate-motivated incidents, ranging from verbal harassment to murder. Transgendered sex trade workers are particularly vulnerable to hate-motivated violence because they often work in dark and isolated areas, and because they are perceived by many people to be undeserving of basic human rights. In the last year, there have been reports of 22 murders of transgender people -- primarily women of colour and Aboriginal women in the survival sex trade, as Fay was.

According to the BC Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, "Hate crimes are offences that strike at the very cohesiveness of society...A unique characteristic of hate crimes is that often individuals and groups are targeted solely on the basis of who they are, not because of anything they have done...The impact of these crimes extends beyond the initial victims and creates fear in the broader communities...Hate crimes create stress in the wider community. They are divisive, engender repetition by others, and incite retaliation. If left unchecked, these crimes can increase in their severity."

The brutal murder of Fay Paquette has greatly impacted her family, her friends, and others who knew her and mourn her loss. It has also affected people in our communities who did not know Fay but are nevertheless impacted by the hatred that motivated her murder. As people vulnerable to violence motivated by hatred -- and specifically concerned about the ongoing violence against transgender people, Aboriginal people, and sex trade workers -- we feel the court's treatment of this case will show how the legal system valued Fay Paquette's life and personhood, and the safety of our communities.

We ask that you beseech the court to consider the hate-motivated nature of this crime as an aggravating factor in sentencing. Additionally, we strongly encourage Crown Counsel to continue pursuing justice for Fay Paquette by sending a clear message that all members of society are valued regardless of race, class, gender, sexuality and religion.

We thank you for your time and consideration.

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Stella LesterBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
Carl Gustafson, A/A Crown Counsel, Prince George

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