TORONTO, November 16, 1999 - The Canadian Race Relations Foundation is calling on the Crown to appeal the sentences that were handed down today against five skinheads in British Columbia who beat an elderly Sikh man to death.
"These individuals should have been sentenced to life in prison because they pose an unacceptable risk to public safety," says Moy Tam, executive director of the Foundation. "The moderate sentences they have received will not serve as a sufficient deterrent to other racists."
Mr. Justice William Stewart of the British Columbia Supreme Court sentenced Robert Kluch and Lee Nikkel to 15 years each in prison. Nathan LeBlanc, Daniel Miloszewski, and Radoslaw Synderek each received a sentence of 12 years in prison.
Tam says the five skinheads will be eligible to apply for full parole after serving one-third of their sentences and are entitled to automatic release after serving two-thirds of their sentences. "The bottom line is that these dangerous and violent individuals could be back on the street in as little as four to five years, which is completely unacceptable."
Two of the skinheads - Nathan LeBlanc and Robert Kluch - should definitely have received life sentences because they refused to express any remorse for killing Nirmal Singh Gill, adds Tam. The Crown submitted a letter to the court written by LeBlanc in which he praised a Texas white supremacist for dragging a black man to death behind his pick-up truck. Wiretap evidence showed that Kluch had proposed murdering 100 Indo-Canadian children to frighten their parents into leaving Canada.
"These two individuals are clearly die-hard racists who will continue to pose an enormous threat to public safety," says Tam. "I am astounded that they did not receive life sentences, particularly since the Criminal Code allows the courts to toughen a sentence if the crime was motivated by hate." T
he Canadian Race Relations Foundation (www.crr.ca) opened its doors in November, 1997. It operates at arm's length from the federal government and works at the forefront of efforts to combat racism and all forms of racial discrimination in Canada.
The Foundation is in the process of launching the largest anti-racism campaign of its kind in Canadian history. Starting on December 15th, the Foundation and its partners will be running 30 and 60-second television ads on both national and local television. Posters, stickers, a 30-minute video and a study guide will also be distributed throughout Canada.