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Vancouver police says it will release cost of riot probe soon

Riot officers in downtown Vancouver June 15, 2011.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

The Vancouver Police Department has reversed course and says it will release the cost of its Stanley Cup riot investigation "in the near future."

Sergeant Howard Chow, a police spokesman, told The Globe and Mail in an e-mail Monday that the force is still compiling the numbers but will release them soon. He would not specify when.

The e-mail came shortly after Sgt. Chow told The Globe that the cost would not be released until the investigation wrapped up. In October, the force said it expected the probe to stretch for a year or two, with 500 to 700 people charged. Fifty-seven people have been charged to date.

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During a news conference at police headquarters on Feb. 17 – the same day the first person to plead guilty to participating in the June riot was sentenced – Chief Jim Chu was asked how much the investigation had cost. He responded: "We can get that to you. We're compiling it. We'll get that to you."

The riot broke out after the hometown Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final to the Boston Bruins and left $3.7-million in damage.

Ryan Dickinson is the only person to be sentenced for taking part in the riot so far. Mr. Dickinson pleaded guilty last month to one count of participating in a riot and one count of breach of recognizance for violating a court-ordered curfew. He was handed a 17-month sentence, minus 3 1/2 months credit for time served.

During sentencing, Mr. Dickinson told the court he "got caught up in the moment" the night of the riot. He used a newspaper box to smash two unmarked police cars, then threw another box at a store window a few blocks away.

The judge rejected the spur-of-the-moment defence, saying Mr. Dickinson, 20, chose to participate in the destruction.

A number of rioters have said they, too, got caught up in the chaos. Camille Cacnio, who's charged with participating in a riot and break and enter, made that claim in a blog post days after the riot. She admitted to taking two pairs of men's pants from a store that was already being looted.

Ms. Cacnio had a court hearing Monday, but her lawyer, Jason Tarnow, appeared on her behalf. While the caught-up-in-the-chaos argument did not work for Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Tarnow said he still plans to use it.

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"Camille Cacnio, it was an instantaneous, 10-second mistake. I think it's probably much more plausible that a court would accept her being caught up in the moment," he said.

Mr. Tarnow said he'll oppose any jail time for his client, calling it "totally inappropriate" for a first-time offender. Ms. Cacnio's case was put over until next month for arraignment.

Armando Garcia and Chelsea Andrews also appeared in court Monday.

Mr. Garcia is charged with participating in a riot, assault and mischief under $5,000. Police allege he took part in the beating of a man who tried to prevent rioters from looting The Bay. He was 19 at the time.

Ms. Andrews, who was 18 at the time of the incident, is charged with participating in a riot and break and enter. She appeared in front of the judge without a lawyer and spoke quietly.

Outside court, Ms. Andrews was asked by a reporter whether she had anything to say or whether, like some of the others alleged to have participated in the riot, she wanted to apologize to Vancouver residents.

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Ms. Andrews said nothing. A female companion shouted "You should apologize" to the reporter who asked the question.

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