Dozens of G20 accused have charges dropped

The Crown has dropped charges against more than 100 people who were arrested during the G20 summit in Toronto.

Charges withdrawn for 90 Quebecers

The Crown has dropped charges against more than 100 people who were arrested during the G20 summit in Toronto.

Ninety of those defendants were Quebecers who travelled to Toronto to protest the summit, which ran June 26-27. A group of them had taken a bus from Montreal to Toronto that weekend and were sleeping on the floor at the University of Toronto graduate students' union building.

They were rounded up by Toronto police early in the morning of June 27. They were charged with a number of offences, including unlawful assembly and conspiracy-related charges.

All of those people had their charges dropped Thursday because of a lack of evidence. Many of them did not appear in court in person, rather, they celebrated on the steps of the courthouse in downtown Montreal.

Lisa Perrault, a Montreal social worker and a member of the group Anti-Capitalist Convergence, was among those arrested on June 27.  She was held at a temporary detention centre for three days before being charged with unlawful assembly and conspiracy to commit an indictable offence.

She said dropping more charges is an admission that they shouldn't have been arrested in the first place.

"It's all to show to people that they are not welcome to say what they have to say because that's what is going to happen to them."

'Charges were frivolous'

Julius Grey, a Montreal lawyer who has been a fierce critic of the policing during the summit, agreed.

"Well, it says what we knew from the start, those charges were frivolous, there was no evidence, that they knew of no conspiracy," he said.

Some 1,100 people were arrested that weekend, but only 308 were eventually charged. Before Thursday, charges were dropped against 69 of those people. To date, only six people have been convicted.

Most of those charged were held in a makeshift detention centre, then released on bail — just like Perrault.

"My rights weren't respected," said Maryce Poisson, who was arrested along with Perrault.

"I felt really stressed about that. And I still had visions about what happened in jail. I think it is something that's really traumatic."

Montreal man arrested

Meanwhile, Toronto police announced Thursday that they had arrested a Montreal man in connection to G20-related vandalism.

Youri Couture, 22, faces six charges, including assaulting a police officer, wearing a disguise with intent to commit an indictable offence and possession of dangerous weapons.

Police allege that during the G20 summit, Couture smashed the windows of a coffee shop, causing more than $18,000 in damages.

Police also allege he assaulted a police officer with a weapon during the meeting of world leaders.

With files from The Canadian Press