The Hamilton Spectator

Judge rules Hamilton bus assault motivated by anti-LGBTQ hate

Man livestream­ed himself making transphobi­c and homophobic comments


A Hamilton man, who livestream­ed himself on a bus making transphobi­c and homophobic remarks and kicking a person, was motivated by bias and hate against the LGBTQ community, an Ontario Court of Justice judge concluded.

Christophe­r Pretula’s behaviour “frankly is obnoxious, offensive and disgusting,” Justice Amanda Camara said Thursday in a Hamilton courtroom, where she sentenced the 44-year-old to jail time.

She also rejected Pretula’s claim that it was a “fluke incident” and that he does not hold anti-LGBTQ beliefs. Other videos posted on his YouTube channel — before and after the August 2022 encounter — “demonstrat­ed this is not a one-off incident, but occurred in a broader context of expressing hate, prejudice and bias toward LGBTQ community.”

In November, Pretula pleaded guilty to assault and to breaching his release conditions for continuing to record people without their permission while on bail.

During a sentencing hearing in February, Pretula’s lawyer, Stephen De Wetter, agreed the offence called for jail time, but argued that was already accomplish­ed by time spent in pretrial custody. The Crown argued the assault was hatemotiva­ted and asked for four-to-six months.

In court Thursday, Camara said further jail time was necessary to send a signal to the public that such hate won’t be tolerated, and to show Pretula the consequenc­es of his actions.

She sentenced Pretula to six months for the assault and 45 days for the breach, to be served consecutiv­ely. After credit for time served before sentencing, he has a further 133 days in jail.

On Aug. 1, 2022, a mother and two of her children — both young adults — were riding an HSR bus when Pretula boarded, while recording his interactio­ns on his YouTube channel. Camara found he instigated an interactio­n with the trio, making “disparagin­g comments” that were transphobi­c and homophobic.

Among the comments: “What is your pronoun dips---? Your pronoun is retard.”

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

The interactio­n escalates when Pretula clenches his fist and shakes it within inches of the face of one of the siblings, and then kicks them in the leg three times.

Camara found the incident denigrated and humiliated the victims, but the fact that it was posted online to be widely viewed also shows an intent to dehumanize a wider group.

Pretula continued to post videos of his interactio­ns with the public after his arrest, including one where he repeatedly asks a stranger if he wants to cuddle. He told the author of his pre-sentence report that he intends to continue to post videos after his release.

Camara found multiple aggravatin­g factors in the case, including comments made in videos that showed community-based sentencing would not have an effect on him. One video titled “house arrest is hard” shows a beach and calm water.

Court heard Pretula has a record that includes previous conviction­s for assault, threatenin­g and breaching court conditions. He was born and raised in Hamilton, where he struggled in school and with substance abuse in his 20s. He was shot in the face at 22 by a drug trafficker. Court heard he began to get sober at 28, after which he met his wife. Their first-born son died of a rare form of cancer as an infant. The couple now share two young children.

In addition to the jail sentence, Pretula was sentenced to two years probation, along with a 10-year weapons ban, and was ordered to submit a DNA sample.

 ?? YOUTUBE MR. BUM TICKLER ?? After credit for time served before sentencing, Christophe­r Pretula has a further 133 days in jail.
YOUTUBE MR. BUM TICKLER After credit for time served before sentencing, Christophe­r Pretula has a further 133 days in jail.

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