8 Vancouver riot suspects appear in court
Crown has applied for proceedings to be televised
Eight people accused in the Stanley Cup riot made their first appearances in a Vancouver court, with several offering apologies to reporters and one signalling her intention to plead guilty.
The seven men and one woman are accused of various offences, but all have been charged with taking part in the riot that tore through downtown Vancouver six months ago.
Ryan Dickinson, 20, appeared in court by video on several charges including participating in a riot.
He is the only accused rioter who has been held in jail since his arrest last week because police say he was violating a court-ordered curfew for previous assault charges the night of the riot. The apprentice tradesman is charged with participating in a riot, and with mischief.
Sophie LaBoissonniere, 20, was charged with breaking and entering and participating in a riot. She didn't appear in person, but her lawyer, David Baker, requested a hearing for next Monday and said he intends to enter a guilty plea.
Spencer Kirkwood, 25, says he loves Vancouver, and wishes he could change what happened.
Another one of the accused, 20-year-old Jeffrey Post, said he's remorseful and is working with the police, but declined to say more.
At least a dozen others — including a second appearance for Dickinson — are scheduled for later this week.
More than two dozen people have been charged so far with riot-related offences.
Trials could be broadcast
The B.C. Crown said Wednesday it will apply to have cameras in the courtrooms at all of the Stanley Cup riot-related trials.
Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said in the past, media companies have applied to broadcast a trial but this time, the application comes on the order of the Attorney General.
Attorney General Shirley Bond issued a statement Wednesday, explaining that the request is in the interest of the public and greater transparency.
"The Stanley Cup riot was watched by many across the province on their home televisions as the event unfolded. As a result, there is significant interest by the public in these prosecutions and they want greater transparency when the courts deal with those charged in the matters surrounding the riot," Bond said.
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The Crown has the support of B.C. Premier Christy Clark, whose government stated earlier this year in a throne speech that those who willfully rioted in front of cameras should have no trouble with cameras at the trial.
"Premier Clark has been clear since she assumed her role as premier that we need to look for opportunities to increase openness and encourage dialogue with the public," Bond said.
"In general, the notion of cameras in the courtroom is a positive step in opening up our courtrooms and should the judge allow the Crown's application, will help give the public greater insight into our justice system."
Police have recommended more than 160 charges against more than 60 alleged looters and vandals. More than 110 people have been arrested or have turned themselves in. The Crown has approved more than 60 charges against a total of 27 suspects.
Vancouver police say between 500 and 700 people could eventually face charges.
The riot broke out after the Vancouver Canucks lost Game 7 in the Stanley Cup final on June 15 against the Boston Bruins. Hundreds of people spent hours torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores in the city's downtown core, causing millions of dollars worth of damage.
VPD's list of charges laid in Stanley Cup riot, as of Dec. 14:
With files from The Canadian Press