Two men charged af­ter cross set on fire

Cape Breton Post - - ATLANTIC -

AVON­DALE, N.S. (CP) — Two broth­ers ap­peared in court Wed­nes­day on hate crime charges fol­low­ing the burn­ing of a cross on the front lawn of an in­ter­ra­cial cou­ple in ru­ral Nova Sco­tia.

Nathan Re­hberg, 20, and Justin Re­hberg, 19, both of Avon­dale, N.S., were re­manded un­til the re­sump­tion of a bail hear­ing Mon­day on counts of pub­lic in­cite­ment of ha­tred, mis­chief and ut­ter­ing threats.

Shayne Howe, who is black, and Michelle Lyon, who is white, said they awoke early Sun­day to find a cross burn­ing on the front lawn of their home in New­port and in­di­vid­u­als yelling racial slurs.

Lyon

said

out­side

court Wed­nes­day that the ac­cused shouldn’t re­ceive bail.

“For them to re­ceive bail would be a slap in the face — a com­plete, ut­ter slap in the face,” she told CBC News as Howe stood by her side. “Our whole fam­ily has been wor­ried sick.”

Sgt. Brigdit Leger, an RCMP spokes­woman, said the in­ci­dent was dis­turb­ing and she cred­ited the pub­lic for sup­port­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Based on the in­for­ma­tion we re­ceived, we fol­lowed up on sev­eral av­enues of in­ves­ti­ga­tion which re­sulted in the ar­rest of th­ese two in­di­vid­u­als,” she said.

Granville Re­hberg, the fa­ther of the two ac­cused, said he is dev­as­tated by the charges.

“I don’t un­der­stand,” he told the CBC in Hal­i­fax, where he lives. “I’ve got nieces who have black chil­dren. I got cousins who are black. Our fam­ily is not racist.”

Chris Hansen of Nova Sco­tia’s Pub­lic Prose­cu­tion Ser­vice said charges in­volv­ing hate crimes are rare in the prov­ince.

She said there were only two such charges in the last 10 years, with one case be­ing dis­missed and the other ac­cused found not crim­i­nally re­spon­si­ble.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice con­demned the act.

“ This is a rep­re­hen­si­ble act that has no place in our coun­try,” spokesman An­drew MacDougall said in a state­ment.

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