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Crown wants jail time for G20 protester

07/13/2012 07:23 EDT | Updated 09/12/2012 05:12 EDT
A G20 protester charged with a string of vandalism incidents during the 2010 summit in Toronto will have to wait a few more days to hear her fate.

Kelly Pflug-Black of Guelph will be sentenced on July 19 in the Superior Court of Ontario on 11 charges.

Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon heard submissions in a Toronto courtroom from the Crown and the defence.

Crown lawyer Liz Nadeau is calling for as much as a two-year prison sentence. Nadeau cited a number of offences that Pflug-Black committed, including damage to three police cars, smashing a number of store windows and damage to merchandise.

“There can be no mistake that smashing a window is violence. And this is violence that the city has never seen,” Nadeau told the court.

Nadeau also read victim-impact statements, including one from a 19-year-old clerk who cowered in the basement as her Yonge Street store was attacked, and one in which a police officer, assaulted in his cruiser, said he feared for his life and was ready to shoot to kill.

In another, a store manager described how dozens of shoppers and staff were terrified when his shop was attacked with the loud bang of windows shattering.

"They were just in shock really," his statement said. "Some were crying. Some were too frightened to leave."

Defence says Pflug-Back's views 'socially useful'

Defence lawyer Steve Gehl argued for a conditional sentence. He said Pflug-Black continued to volunteer and advocate for a number of environmental causes that benefit society.

A "young and impatient" Pflug-Back, who is in her 20s, wanted to draw attention to the damage mega-corporations are doing the planet and the evil they cause, he said.

"These views are socially useful — without them, this society will fail," Gehl said.

He also said Pflug-Back had no intention of entering any of the vandalized stores and was opposed to the ensuing looting.

"That's the last thing she wanted or expected," Gehl said.

But Justice John McMahon responded, "How come she then smashes the window of the next place?"

"The windows are symbolic," Gehl replied.

Before the sentence hearing adjourned, Justice McMahon asked the 23-year-old, who pleaded guilty to the charges, if she had anything to add.

She told the court she is studying at Wilfrid Laurier University and would like to volunteer abroad in Ghana in 2013. She said getting into third year was dependent on not receiving a prison sentence.

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