Two men charged after cross set on fire
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.
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.