Five young men from Gibsons face multiple criminal charges connected with an attack on a campsite of skateboarders during Pender Harbour's May Day celebration.
Allegedly, the men took part in an unprovoked attack on the campsite May 23 in which several people received severe head injuries from swinging hockey sticks. Some women were allegedly struck with hockey sticks as well when they tried to intervene.
The skateboarders were in Pender Harbour for a longboarding competition as part of the May Day festivities. The attack, which injured several skaters so badly that they were not able to compete the next day, generated a furor in B.C.'s skateboarding community, which dubbed the alleged attackers "hicks with sticks."
Sunshine Coast RCMP Sgt. Danny Willis said the investigation is continuing and more people may be charged once witness interviews are completed.
All five men were arrested July 23, exactly two months after the May Day violence. They spent the weekend in jail and had their bail hearing July 26. Since there was no judge in Sechelt that day, Judge Jane Auxier held the bail hearing in North Vancouver Provincial Court.
The five accused men, crowded together in the Sechelt prisoners' box, calmly watched the court proceedings on a live television link to the North Van courthouse.
"The allegations are the Gibsons group viciously attacked the campers at the campsite May 23 using hockey sticks as weapons," said Auxier during the bail hearing.
Auxier waited until July 27 before deciding that two brothers, 23-year-old Paul Matthew Johnson and 20-year-old Drew Alexander Johnson, should be denied bail.
Because the Johnson brothers have been charged with several other violent assaults since the May Day attacks, said the judge, "detention is necessary for the safety of the public."
The other three accused men, 21-year-old Daryl Allan Costello, 22-year-old Daniel Wood and 25-year-old Michael David Webb, were released on bail July 26. Their bail conditions include a no-contact order protecting 24 people who are victims of or witnesses to the May Day attack and a ban on the men possessing weapons.
"I will not impose a no-alcohol order or a curfew [conditions which the Crown prosecutor had requested]," said Auxier. "There have been no further difficulties in the intervening two months as far as you three are concerned." In total, each of the five men faces four charges of assault causing bodily harm, four charges of assault with a weapon, five charges of simple assault and one charge of possessing a weapon (a hockey stick) for a dangerous purpose. All those charges are connected with the May 23 attack in Pender Harbour.
In addition, the Johnson brothers are co-accused on two separate charges of assault causing bodily harm. Paul Johnson is also charged with one other count of simple assault.
All five accused men will appear in Sechelt provincial court Aug. 10 to set a date for trial.