No jail time for man who shoved 92-year-old Asian man with dementia in Vancouver, says judge

No jail time for man who attacked elderly man
Image: NEWS1130
  • Jamie Bezanson, the man who attacked a 92-year-old Asian man with severe dementia at a 7-Eleven in East Vancouver on March 13, 2020, will not be facing prison time.
  • Bezanson received a conditional discharge and was given a one-year probation during his hearing on Monday.
  • Judge Donna Senniw ordered him not to make any contact with the victim, Kaihong Kwong, and two others involved in the incident. Bezanson must also pay Kwong 100 Canadian dollars (approximately $79) and do 20 hours of community service.
  • Bezanson attacked Kwong while he was being assisted by 7-Eleven staff at a store near First Avenue and Nanaimo Street. Bezanson subjected Kwong to anti-Asian remarks about COVID-19 before pushing him to the ground outside the store.
  • The assailant reportedly turned himself in after police released a video of the altercation in July 2020. He pleaded guilty to assault charges.
  • Despite seven eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage, the court said there was not enough evidence to call the incident a hate crime.

The Vancouver man who attacked a 92-year-old Asian man with severe dementia at a 7-Eleven store in what was described as an anti-Asian attack two years ago will not be serving prison time.

Judge Donna Senniw gave Jamie Bezanson, 52, a conditional discharge and a one-year probation during his ruling at the Provincial Court of British Columbia on Monday.

Senniw also ordered Bezanson not to make any contact with the victim, Kaihong Kwong, and two others involved in the incident. The assailant must also pay Kwong 100 Canadian dollars (approximately $79) and do 20 hours of community service.

Staff members at a 7-Eleven store near First Avenue and Nanaimo Street in East Vancouver were trying to assist Kwong on March 13, 2020, when Bezanson reportedly began shouting anti-Asian remarks about COVID-19 at the elderly man. 

Surveillance footage from inside the store shows the assailant dragging Kwong by his arm and pushing him to the ground right outside the store. The victim reportedly hit his head but did not suffer serious injuries.

Multiple sources purportedly identified Bezanson as the suspect. He later turned himself in after the police released a video of the altercation. He was charged in July 2020.

Despite seven eyewitness accounts and CCTV footage, the court said there was not enough evidence to call the incident a hate crime.

I can advise that there was no reliable evidence that this was motivated by hate, and that there was reliable evidence that it was not,” Gordon S. Comer of the BC Prosecution Service said in a statement.

In May 2021, Bloomberg named Vancouver the “Anti-Asian Hate Crime Capital of North America” after the Canadian city logged 98 anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020 – more than triple the figure reported in New York at that period.

According to two recent surveys, anti-Asian hate is still a persistent problem in Vancouver two years into the COVID-19 pandemic.

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