VANCOUVER - A lawyer for one of three B.C. men identified by the Mounties as belonging to a neo-Nazi group is accusing the police of making unfounded allegations.
Robertson De Chazal, 25, is charged with aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm in connection with two incidents, while Shawn MacDonald, 30, faces three counts of assault. Both are from the Vancouver area.
Some of the charges against de Chazal involve an attack in which a 25-year-old Filipino man was set on fire after he fell asleep on a discarded couch in 2009. He suffered burns to his arms, neck and head.
The charges against MacDonald relate to incidents in 2008 and 2010 that injured a black man, a Hispanic man and an aboriginal woman.
Police say the accused belong to the white supremacist group Blood and Honour and they displayed Nazi paraphernalia at the news conference where they announced the charges Dec. 9.
De Chazal's lawyer David Sutherland is upset with the way the police have characterized his client.
"Such stunts as displaying a Nazi flag and speaking of an 'international white supremacist organization...linked to violent incidents worldwide' should be seen for what they are: completely unfounded, highly prejudicial, and fundamentally contrary to the spirit of our legal system," Sutherland said.
He says his client will plead not guilty and mount a vigorous defence.
"However it is difficult for Mr. de Chazal and his family and his friends to defend themselves from the totally inappropriate imputations and innuendo the police levelled at their press conference after the charges were laid," he said.
The RCMP told the news conference the men were charged after police began new investigations into old crimes they linked to the Blood and Honour group.
Investigators claim the arrests have disrupted the organization and reduced its membership.
All three of the accused will be back in court next month. (News1130)