Hate crime shocks Ryerson

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Eoin McManus is being charged after an alleged altercation at Church and McGill Streets on Jan. 22. News Editor Emma Prestwich reports

A Ryerson student has been charged with committing an alleged hate crime against a former student.

Eoin McManus, a third-year radio and television student and his friend Benjamin McCall allegedly assaulted Ryan Lester and his brother Ben Lester at Mehran Tandoori Restaurant in the early morning hours on Jan. 22.

McManus and McCall allegedly hurled homophobic slurs at Ben Lester when he entered the restaurant, and beat Ben to the ground when he confronted the two men.

“He got up out of his chair, and they punched him to the ground,” said Ryan Lester.

Lester said he then went over to the two men and they punched both him and his brother.

McManus and McCall then allegedly ran out the door and up Church Street, where police arrested them.

Lester was taken away by ambulance. A CAT scan of his brain was clear, but he said he still has broken bones and soft tissue injuries in his face. “I find the incident shocking, in an area so closer to Toronto’s gay village,” he said.

According to Toronto Police Const. Tonyo Vella, the incident has been classfied as a hate crime.

McManus and McCall are facing two charges of assault and one charge of mischief, said Const. Vella.

He said the two were arrested by police, taken to court and were released on certain conditions.

The two are set to appear at the College Park courthouse on Feb. 16 at 2pm.

Lester, fundraising director at Pride Toronto, was taking public administration and governance courses at

Ryerson up until this semester, but said he dropped out when work at the advocacy organization became too stressful.

He said he couldn’t believe that McManus was a Ryerson student, but said that he thinks Ryerson should institute some type of discipline for these kinds of crimes.

“Students in post-secondary education should be accountable to the school,” he said.

Ryerson’s code of non-academic misconduct states that students should follow all levels of law and that the university can impose penalties on students who don’t.

The penalties range from written reprimands to restrictions on entering the campus.

It is unclear whether McManus will face non-academic misconduct charges.

Casey Giorgievski, volunteer outreach coordinator with RyePride, said she found it upsetting that the incident involved a Ryerson student and was only a few steps away from campus.

She cited the alleged murder of Ryerson student Christopher Skinner in October 2009 as one case of suspected discrimination and said she thinks there have been several small incidents of anti-gay harassment happening.

“This looks bad on us as a university,” she said.

“There are hateful people everywhere.”

Lester said that this was his first experience of assault, but that he thinks it’s a common narrative.

“I don’t think I’m alone in things that happen daily,” he said.


  1. typical trashy journalism: advocating extra-judicial academic punishment. pathetic

  2. I am one of the accused (Benjamin McCall) in your article and many more articles spread across the internet. It has been almost 5 years since the incident and at no point was this article taken down or was there posted a follow up article or any sort of apology based on the conclusions of the case.

    We were found innocent and acquitted of all charges due to video footage of the whole scene (which even showed that we hadn’t started the fight), as well as evidence tampering, coercion and assault on behalf of the arresting officers.

    We were not the monsters this article and hundreds of articles across news papers, news reports and articles on the internet had displayed us to be. I for example went to an art school (Rosedale Heights School of the Arts) and studied dance for several years. I had and have many homosexual friends and I have never or will never attack anyone for the life they lead.

    My life was affected heavily by articles such as these. I was threatened constantly on social media. I had hundreds of people sending me death threats daily and I eventually had to close down my accounts. I hid away for periods of time due to depression and was judged constantly. My life was changed drastically. I had trouble getting jobs, I lost relationships and contemplated suicide regularly.

    Almost 5 years later I look back on that time as a life experience and a view into our judicial system, police corruption as well as the media’s portrayal of the truth, but I still feel as though I deserve something. If you could take this article down, it would be appreciated.

    Benjamin McCall

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