Sikh teen acquitted of kirpan assault

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Sikh teen acquitted of kirpan assault

Quebec judge hints religion played a role in student being charged

MONTREAL–In a case that threatens to once again thrust Quebec's uneasy accommodation of religious minorities into the spotlight, a judge has hinted that nationality indeed played a role in a 13-year-old Sikh boy being charged with brandishing his ceremonial dagger in a dispute with some schoolmates.

"If the three boys had the same nationality, and the same faith, this case would not have ended up before the court," youth court judge Gilles Ouellet said in giving the boy an absolute discharge yesterday.

The boy, who can't be named as he is a minor, was acquitted of assault with his kirpan, which Sikhs usually keep discreetly sheathed. Ouellet, however, found the boy guilty of using his long hairpin in the assault, but by discharging him freed the boy from a criminal record ...