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No jail time for P.E.I. man who damaged Sir John A. Macdonald statue

Timothy Austin Molyneaux, 23, was given a conditional discharge on Oct. 15, 2020 for his part in toppling this statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Charlottetown.
Timothy Austin Molyneaux, 23, was given a conditional discharge on Oct. 15, 2020 for his part in toppling this statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Charlottetown. - Contributed
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A P.E.I. man who was drunk when he was involved in toppling a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in Charlottetown has been given a conditional discharge and ordered to perform community service Thursday.

Timothy Austin Molyneaux, 23, appeared before Judge Jeff Lantz in provincial court in Charlottetown Thursday where he pleaded guilty to damaging property.

Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown attorney Jeff MacDonald told the court that on Sept. 7 at around 10:30 p.m., Charlottetown police were dispatched to a call about two men pulling the Sir John A. Macdonald statue out of place.

The court heard the police arrested Molyneaux and took him to jail because of his level of intoxication.

On the way to the jail, Molyneaux admitted to pulling the statue down, saying it was because of what it stood for.

The bronze statue of Canada’s first prime minister sits in a prominent place on a bench at the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Row.


About the statue:
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald was commissioned in 2008 with a $75,000 price tag. Colorado artist Mike Halterman sculpted the statue and said he has been getting hate mail because of it.


A plaque next to it includes information about the former prime minister’s personal history and his role in Confederation.

What it doesn’t mention is the part Macdonald played in the creation of Canada’s residential school system.

That system saw Indigenous children separated from their parents and led to widespread abuse.

People opposed to the statue have called for its removal, but the city has decided to keep it where it is.

The Sept. 7 incident wasn’t the first time someone vandalized the statue.

In June, someone threw red paint on the statue which required sand blasting to remove and cost the city more than $1,200.

City workers clean off red paint dumped on the John A. Macdonald statue on June 19.  - Stu Neatby
City workers clean off red paint dumped on the John A. Macdonald statue on June 19. - Stu Neatby

The court heard the latest incident caused $318.97 in damage to the statue.

During Thursday’s proceedings, the Crown told the court they might typically look at dealing with the matter through alternative measures, but other people need to be deterred from engaging in similar actions.

Defence lawyer Joel Wonnacott told the court Molyneaux described himself as a civil rights activist.

Wonnacott said the events didn’t represent Molyneaux’s character and he prefers peaceful methods of demonstration, but the amount of alcohol he consumed led to a lapse in judgment.

The court heard Molyneaux plans to apply to join the coast guard and Wonnacott said a criminal record would prejudice his employment opportunities.

Wonnacott said the court process has been stressful for Molyneaux and drove home the seriousness of the offence.

With the conditional discharge, Molyneaux will be on probation for one year, during which time he must perform 20 hours of community service or pay to the local food bank $10 for every hour not completed.

Molyneaux must pay $160 in restitution along with a $100 victim surcharge.

Lantz also ordered Molyneaux to write an apology letter to Charlottetown Mayor Philip Brown.

Molyneaux’s co-accused has yet to enter any pleas and his next court date is scheduled for Oct. 29.
 

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