British Columbia

Stanley Cup rioters sentenced for assault of Good Samaritans

Two Stanley Cup rioters have been have been handed lengthy jail terms for assaulting a Good Samaritan in Vancouver in June 2011.

William Fisher and Jeffrey Milne are the last of 293 people to be sentenced in relation to 2011 riot

William Fisher and Jeffrey Milne are the last of 293 people to be sentenced in relation to Vancouver's 2011 Stanley Cup riot. (CBC)

A Vancouver provincial court judge handed sentences of up to three years Friday to a pair of men who violently assaulted a Good Samaritan in the midst of the 2011 Stanley Cup riot.

William Fisher and Jeffrey Milne received sentences of three years and 32 months respectively after being convicted of a series of offences including aggravated assault and taking part in a riot.

"The offenders' conduct was serious. Their actions demonstrated a complete disregard for social order and the safety of all those within the downtown core," Judge Reginald Harris said in his reasons for sentence.

"They showed a willingness to flout police attempts to regain control and their collective actions encouraged others to do the same. The assaults were done with cowardice, bravado and extreme violence."

The final sentences

The pair are the last of the 293 people to be sentenced in relation to mayhem which rocked the streets of Vancouver in the aftermath of the Vancouver Canucks Stanley Cup final loss in June 2011.

A total of 300 people were charged. Nearly all of them pleaded guilty.

Fisher participated in the riot for about two-and-a-half hours, committing three assaults and confronting police lines in multiple locations.

He stole clothing from a men's store and was convicted of a series of assaults on three different Good Samaritans.

The most serious of those saw both Fisher and Milne combine to beat a defenseless man into unconsciousness.

Milne punched the victim in the face without warning or provocation and then Fisher kicked him on the right side of his face. Milne then stomped down on the man's rib cage in an assault that resulted in a punctured lung.

Vancouver Canucks fans pose in front of a burning police cruiser during the Stanley Cup riot in downtown Vancouver on 2011. (Geoff Howe/Canadian Press)

Fisher, 31, works as a labourer in the construction industry. He has struggled with drugs and alcohol in the past and said he regrets his actions and he is remorseful.

Milne, 24, had just turned 20 when he took part in the riot. He moved to Calgary in the months after and does renovations and plumbing to earn a living.

Milne argued that media attention in the case should be counted as a factor for a reduced sentence. But the judge rejected that argument, saying if anything, the media attention should remind others of the dangers of rioting.

'Terrorizing for the public'

The Crown was seeking jail sentences in the range of five years.

B.C. Criminal Justice Branch spokesman Gordon Comer said the length of time the men will have to spend behind bars is an indication of how seriously the court takes rioting.

"It's terrorizing for the public," Comer said.

In a report released last month, the province's assistant deputy attorney general defended the pace of the judicial system.

The riot took place for about five hours on June 15, 2011 in the aftermath of a Game 7 Stanley Cup final playoff loss by the Canucks to the Boston Bruins.

About 55,000 people watched the game at a public viewing area and an additional 100,000 people were in the nearby streets.

According to the report, an investigative team identified a total of 297 "discrete riot events" including arson, mischief, break-and-enter and assault. The monetary cost was $3.78 million.

Fisher and Milne were among nine rioters convicted after electing to go to trial. One accused was acquitted and stays of proceedings were entered in six cases.


Jason Proctor


Jason Proctor is a reporter in British Columbia for CBC News and has covered the B.C. courts and mental health issues in the justice system extensively.


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