The Crown has dropped a hate crime charge against Calgary Black Lives Matter president Adora Nwofor, less than two weeks after she was arrested by police.
Prosecutor Will Tran told Justice Indra Maharaj the Crown would not be proceeding with the allegation Nwofor committed a hate-based mischief by interfering with people’s access to St. Thomas Aquinas School.
“There’s just one matter before the court. It’s the Crown’s application to withdraw it,” Tran told Maharaj, about the single allegation against Nwofor.
On June 2, Adora Nwofor was charged with mischief in connection with a May 26 incident for allegedly “wilfully obstructing and interfering” with the use of a property “primarily used for religious worship and educational purposes.”
Court records alleged she interfered with people’s use of St. Thomas Aquinas School on 26 Avenue SW “for reasons of bias, prejudice, or hate based on race or ethnic origin.”
Nwofor, 47, is president of Black Lives Matter YYC.
An official statement from the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service (ACPS) to Postmedia said the allegation wasn’t reviewed by a prosecutor prior to Nwofor being charged.
“The ACPS is working to roll out a pre-charge process province-wide, but Calgary is not currently a participant in this process,” the statement said.
“With the pre-charge process, the prosecutor would have reviewed the potential charge prior to it being laid. The prosecutor would then provide this assessment to law enforcement to consider prior to laying charges.”
“This process helps to ensure charges entering the system meet the standard for prosecution and resources are focused on viable matters.”
It also said cases are routinely reviewed after charges are filed to make sure the proceeding is in the best interest of the public and there is a reasonable likelihood of conviction.
“If at any time following the laying of charges the Crown prosecutor becomes aware that the standard for prosecution is no longer met, then the charges may be stayed, withdrawn or downgraded.”
Defence counsel Chad Haggerty said the allegation his client was motivated by “hate based on race or ethnic origin” may have been filed in error, something later confirmed by the Calgary Police Service.
“It looks like there was a clerical error with the initial charge, with the incorrect (Criminal Code) subsection,” the service said.