British Columbia

Tineke Kraal handed suspended sentence for sabotaging North Shore mountain bike trails

North Vancouver senior who dragged branches and logs on trails pleaded guilty to mischief charge in September

Mountain bike trail sabotage evidence 0:24

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Sixty-four-year-old Tineke Kraal of North Vancouver has been handed a suspended sentence and placed on three years' probation for sabotaging mountain bike trails. She will also have to serve 150 hours of community service.

Kraal was caught on camera placing branches and other obstacles across trails on Vancouver's North Shore. 

She pleaded guilty in September to one criminal charge of mischief rendering property dangerous, useless or inoperative.

In handing down the sentence,  the judge said he didn't accept the Crown's implication that Kraal placed branches with a view to impale riders, saying the video evidence showed a "casual" approach.

The Crown was asking for a sentence of three-months under house arrest, while the defence was seeking a conditional discharge. 

Earlier in the day Kraal told the court: "I never wanted to hurt anybody. I'm just really sorry."

Caught on camera

She was arrested last year after concerned mountain bikers used a hidden infrared camera to record the avid hiker dragging branches and logs onto the popular bike trails. 

Earlier in the morning, prosecutor Mark Myhre told the court Kraal ran a personal campaign for two years, spending up to two hours a day dragging dozens of logs and branches onto the North Shore trails.

Myhre told the judge a harsh sentence was needed to deter others, because Kraal is not the first person to consider sabotaging bike trails.

Tineke Kraal

Tineke Kraal, 64, pleaded guilty to a mischief charge after being caught on camera setting traps on North Shore trails. (Tineke Kraal/Facebook)

Video evidence presented at the hearing showed Kraal walking in the dark with a stick and her dog, dragging logs onto the trails and shoving branches between boulders. 

The Crown disputed the avid hiker's claim she did it only to slow the bikers down because they were harming the trails.

In many cases, trails she was sabotaging had been built and maintained by mountain bikers, the hearing was told, and the impact could have been catastrophic for an unsuspecting rider.

But the Crown also conceded one unintended consequence of Kraal's actions is heightened courtesy between trail users.

Defence called for leniency

In response, Kraal's lawyer asked the court for leniency given the attention and humiliation she had already suffered.

North Shore trail camera

Two mountain bikers used a wildlife camera to capture images of a woman dragging obstructions onto some popular mountain bike trails. (Walleater)

Citing a social media post that said, "Just kill her," her lawyer, Martin Peters, said Kraal has been living in virtual house arrest since her name was made public.

Kraal now suffers from panic attacks, her lawyer noted, along with arthritis, and spends much of her time driving her husband to cancer treatments.

Her lawyer had asked for a conditional sentence, noting no injuries to bikers had ever been linked to her actions. He also said Kraal was unlikely to re-offend.

Concerned bikers 

Kraal was arrested last January after two mountain bikers became concerned about logs and rocks, which appeared to have been deliberately placed on their trails.

They feared the obstructions could harm or kill a biker, so they set a trap for the saboteur in the form of a hidden camera. The infrared video captured Kraal, a local outdoor enthusiast, dragging the objects onto the trail in the dark.

The mountain bikers passed the evidence on to RCMP, who then arrested Kraal one Sunday morning as she was leaving the woods.

Kraal initially faced multiple charges including setting a trap and mischief endangering life, but pleaded guilty last September to the lesser charge.

The mountain bikers, who eventually received a letter of commendation from the RCMP for their efforts to catch Kraal, are expected to release some of the footage they collected now that Kraal has been sentenced.

LIVEBLOG: CBC reporter Jason Proctor reports from the sentencing

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