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Man to plead guilty to criminal harassment at Vancouver 911 centre

A judge told Donald Smith to stop posting recordings of online court proceedings online.
Provincial Court Of British Columbia. photo Cindy Goodman/North Shore News

A man accused of mischief and criminal harassment of staff at Metro Vancouver’s 911 operations centre will plead guilty to the charges.

Donald Francis Smith, 43, faces charges for an April 27, 2021 occurrence.

The July 12, 2021 charge information alleged Smith harassed or was reckless as to whether or not a person was harassed and caused them fear due to behaviour at the E-Comm emergency communications centre by the PNE grounds.

The document further alleged mischief because Smith supposedly obstructed or interfered with the lawful use of the property.

His case has worked through multiple appearances at Vancouver Provincial Court, but that ended recently when it was waived to Toronto with approval from Crown Prosecutor Monte Ruttan.

Under the Criminal Code of Canada, such a move involves a guilty plea. If an accused fails to appear or refuses to plead guilty, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada website said the law stipulates that the case must return to the original court.

“If the accused fails to appear before the originating court, a warrant should be requested,” the Public Prosecution Service of Canada website said.

The Vancouver court had issues with Smith’s conduct in the case.

When Smith appeared in Vancouver Provincial Court on Dec. 22, 2021, Ruttan told Judge James Bahen a YouTube video related to virtual court proceedings a week prior had appeared online.

Ruttan told Behan the video “clearly captures the proceedings involving (Crown prosecutor Marcel Lehouillier), and it related to Mr. Smith from Dec. 14 of this year. It was posted online Dec. 16.”

Ruttan said the video was purported to be by News Now Canada Independent Media.

“It is the Crown’s submission, it is plain it is Mr. Smith narrating the video,” Ruttan told Behan. “The court has policies that restrict the use of cameras when you join a proceeding virtually.”

Ruttan asked Behan to remind Smith that court policies prohibit such behaviour. He also requested Behan to direct Smith to remove the material.

“Mr. Smith has already been cited for civil contempt of court in Alberta,” Ruttan said.

“I will remove it,” Smith told Behan.

Smith repeatedly asserted he was facing “falsified charges.” He said he was taking pictures from the sidewalk, which is entirely legal.

“I’m requesting a fair trial,” he said.

“You’re entitled to a fair hearing, Mr. Smith,” Behan said. “Everyone is.”