Edmonton

Man pleads guilty to uttering threats against Rebel staffer at women's march

An Edmonton man pleaded guilty Monday to uttering threats after an incident with a Rebel Media staffer at a women's rally in January.

Dion Bews given 3-month conditional discharge with 30 hours of community service

A video captured Dion Bews and Sheila Gunn-Reid arguing at the women's rally in January. (Rebel Media)

A man originally charged with assault and uttering threats after a Rebel Media staffer said she was hit while covering a women's march in Edmonton last January pleaded guilty Monday to uttering threats.

Dion Bews, 35, was given a three-month conditional discharge and ordered to complete 30 hours of community service.

His sentence is less than what the defence and Crown had originally agreed on. The two sides had asked the judge for a 12-month conditional discharge, including counselling for anger management, which the judge dismissed.

Provincial court Judge Donna Groves questioned whether Bews needed to be under any conditions and pondered whether to give him an absolute discharge considering the "horrendous conduct of the complainant."

Sheila Gunn Reid, the Rebel Media staffer who made the complaint, was not in court Monday to hear the sentence but added her response on Twitter. Rebel Media is a right-wing online media service.

 

Gunn Reid had been trying to interview rally participants at the Alberta legislature by asking what they thought of the counter-protest at the women's rally. When she approached Bews to ask him a question, he held up a middle finger to the camera and used profanity to address Rebel founder Ezra Levant.

Bews asked Gunn Reid to leave him alone and said, "I'll break your f--king camera."

The camera seems to shake.

The video was posted on Rebel's website with Gunn Reid's commentary and an article by Levant offering a $1,000 bounty to anyone who could identify and find the "NDP thug."

Rebel followers bombarded Bews with what defence lawyer Mona Duckett described as "inordinate abusive vitriol" in voice messages and on social media posts.

Some posted threats, one saying "just shoot him," Duckett said in court Monday. Another threatened to bomb the guitar shop where Bews worked.

The judge asked Bews whether he could finish the 30 hours of community service in three months. Bews replied he could, that he already volunteers several hours a week at a community garden in Edmonton.

As part of the conditional sentence, Bews is not allowed to contact Gunn Reid.

A conditional discharge means Bews will not have a criminal record if he follows the conditions over the three-month period.​