Mischief charge dropped against woman who burned pride flag

The charge has been dropped against the woman who burned a pride flag on campus last year.

Brooklyn Fink had been charged with mischief, and was supposed to go to trial in March. However, Crown prosecutors dropped the charge against her on December 6.

“The charges were stayed, as the Crown concluded that there was no longer a substantial likelihood of a conviction,” said Daniel McLaughlin, communications counsel for the criminal justice branch, in an email statement to The Ubyssey.

Fink admitted to burning down the pride flag, but pleaded not guilty to the mischief charge during a court appearance last May. The act was initially viewed as most likely a hate crime, with the university issuing a statement describing it as a “an act of hate and in contravention of the values of equity, inclusion and respect deeply held by the university community.”

However, Fink, who identified herself as transsexual in an interview with Vice last year, has said that burning the flag was an act of protest against the fault she sees in the inclusion of transsexual people in the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

For a few months before the charge was dropped, Crown Counsel looked for an individual or organization willing to step forward and claim ownership of the damaged property. As a part of this effort, counsel contacted the AMS.

“I got a phone call from the RCMP detachment, and immediately I went down and spoke with the Pride Collective,” said AMS President Ava Nasiri. “They expressed to me the reason that the Pride Collective was not comfortable stepping forward and claiming ownership of this flag was because the criminal charges attached to the case meant that this individual, Brooklyn Fink, could possibly face criminal charges including jail time.”

According to Nasiri, the Pride Collective was not comfortable with the treatment of many people by Canada’s prison system, and thereby was not comfortable subjecting anyone to it. Pride was not able to comment before publishing.

“It wasn’t saying, ‘Yeah, it’s okay that this flag was burnt —this situation was alright,’ but rather it was an assessment of the thorough situation and the possible extreme ramifications for this individual,” said Nasiri.

“As a representative of the AMS as a whole, we are here to support our resource groups. If that is the preference that the [Pride Collective] has expressed to us — as the most relevant and involved party in this situation — we stand by their decision.”

UBC has been contacted for comment as to whether they were also contacted by Crown Counsel and were asked to take ownership.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.