The Hamilton Spectator

Assault recorded on bus motivated by hate, Crown says

Defence asks for time served after man pleads guilty in video case


A Hamilton man who livestream­ed himself making homophobic and transphobi­c slurs — as well as kicking a person — on a bus ought to be sentenced to jail time because the crime was hate motivated, argues the Crown.

Christophe­r Pretula pleaded guilty to assault in November for the incident he recorded on an HSR bus in August 2022 that was posted on his YouTube channel, “Mr. Bum Tickler.” He also pleaded guilty for breaching his release conditions.

At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, assistant Crown attorney Megan Nieuwoudt argued that the case meets the Criminal Code definition of a hate- or bias-motivated offence and therefore calls for a harsher sentence. She asked for a four- to six-month sentence, minus credit for 92 days served in pre-sentence custody.

It has dehumanizi­ng impact on victims and the wider public, she said, adding that Pretula had “high moral culpabilit­y.” The fact that the video was made public broadened its reach and made it even more aggravatin­g.

Pretula’s lawyer, Stephen De Wetter, called the video “shocking” and “disturbing,” adding that he would spend no time trying to rationaliz­e or defend the unprovoked incident.

He agreed that the context of the assault, which would otherwise be considered minor, was deserving of jail time. However, he said that is accomplish­ed with the time Pretula already served in custody.

In the video, which was played in court, Pretula is recording on a bus when he turns his attention, unprovoked to two brothers and their mother, aggressive­ly trying to provoke a response.

“What is your pronoun dipsh-t; your pronoun is retard,” he says at one point.

And later: “I don’t know what this goofball transforme­r looking thing is.”

Toward the end of the approximat­ely five-minute recording Pretula got up and walked toward the doors. At the same time, one of the victims outstretch­ed his leg and it touched Pretula.

Pretula turned and kicked the victim and then clenched his fist to his face while saying: “Do it again … kick me again.”

Nieuwoudt noted that in a presentenc­e report Pretula denied holding anti-LGBTQ beliefs. His words in the video refute this, or they show that he uses that rhetoric for the purpose of followers.

The Crown referenced and played several other videos from Pretula’s YouTube account, where he often livestream­s interactio­ns with strangers. This included videos after his arrest, when he was prohibited from recording people without their consent, in which he asked a man to cuddle and claimed to be transgende­r in another. She argued they showed an unwillingn­ess to comply with house arrest. Pretula also indicated he will continue to livestream.

Pretula’s lawyer called him a “bit of a rebel,” noting that he likes to create controvers­y and “stir things up” in his videos.

He seems himself as a “rogue interviewe­r,” De Wetter said, adding that he’s not condoning it — but that’s how Pretula sees himself.

Court heard that Pretula has had a difficult life including being shot in his early 20s and losing his firstborn child to a rare form of cancer several years ago. He also has multiple sclerosis. He and his wife have two young children he cares for while she works.

Speaking directly to the court Pretula called the video “disgusting,” calling it a “fluke incident” that is not reflective of how he acts.

“I feel bad for the victims,” he said, adding that he’s sure it has affected their lives.

Pretula said he understand­s the gravity of his actions, calling them selfish and “beneath him.”

“There is nothing I can say, it was stupid, I apologize, I don’t ever want to go before this court again,” he said.

The case returns April 4 for sentencing.

 ?? YOUTUBE ?? Christophe­r Pretula pleaded guilty to assault for kicking a victim on a bus after hurling homophobic and transphobl­ic slurs while livestream­ing on YouTube.
YOUTUBE Christophe­r Pretula pleaded guilty to assault for kicking a victim on a bus after hurling homophobic and transphobl­ic slurs while livestream­ing on YouTube.

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