A former People's Party of Canada riding president received a 90-day conditional sentence for throwing gravel at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during an election campaign rally in September 2021. The judge presiding over the case denounced the assault as an "expression of mob mentality."
Justice Kevin McHugh said the violence committed by Shane Marshall, 26, against a public official was "anti-democratic and needs to be denounced in the strongest terms." However, he did not consider Marshall a danger to society.
Video footage showed that as Trudeau boarded his campaign bus on September 6, 2021, some gravel appeared flying from a large crowd behind him.
Marshall launched the pebbles at the prime minister, forcing his RCMP detail to hold up their hands as he got on his campaign bus. The small projectiles also supposedly hit media members, though none reported any injuries.
Though the judge does not believe Marshall intended to throw gravel at Trudeau, he said Marshall still committed a serious assault.
"Marshall did not just impose on Mr. Trudeau's health and safety," he said. "In a very public and tangible way, he threatened the liberties and sense of security that we all hold dear in this country."
Marshall served as the president of the Elgin-Middlesex-London riding until being relieved of his position after the incident.
"This was not an expression of political beliefs. It was a manifestation of mob mentality, which if left unchecked allows anarchy to prevail," reads McHugh's decision, which also sentenced the defendant to one-year probation.
In March, Marshall pleaded guilty to common assault. Phillip Millar, a lawyer to the defendant, unsuccessfully compelled the courts to serve Trudeau a subpoena to testify in court owing to contradictory accounts over the incident.
Luke Reidy, another lawyer for Marshall, said the sentence for his client was fair and balanced and that Marshall has since acknowledged the seriousness of his actions.
"His goal now is to find a way to deal with his emotion through counselling and to make sure this never happens again," Reidy said outside the London courthouse.
In determining Marshall's sentence, McHugh reviewed the case of another man who threatened to kill Trudeau in 2021. The judge sentenced the person to 60 days of house arrest.
McHugh also cited a case where former prime minister Jean Chretien received a pie in the face at a 2000 Charlottetown event. The person received 30 days in jail but only served eight days after appealing his sentence.
Asked whether Marshall would attend PPC rallies, Reidy said, "he has no immediate plans for that." He added that Marshall "definitely has to reconsider how he deals with his political positions."
Marshall will serve his conditional sentence under house arrest. He can only leave for medical emergencies or at the discretion of his probation officer.
The judge also ordered Marshall to avoid making contact with Trudeau. Additionally, the sentence includes a five-year weapons prohibition.