Breaking down the charges of the HH attacks


Several charges have been laid against Geovanny Villalba-Aleman following his arrest on June 28 after his attack on the professor of the class and two students during PHIL 202: Gender Studies. The following is a comprehensive explanation of the charges laid against him.

Aggravated assault (three counts)

Aggravated assault is an attack in which the perpetrator has the intention to wound, maim or disfigure the victim, or to endanger the victim’s life. It is classed as an indictable offense – the most serious classification for a crime. Indictable offenses usually involve violent crime and are most commonly punished through imprisonment. Those who are arrested for committing an indictable offense must appear in court, with the option of representing themselves or requesting a lawyer.

The maximum punishment for a charge of aggravated assault is 14 years in prison. The sentence is determined by the harm caused, the intent, and the circumstances of the assault. This charge is often paired with other assault charges.

Assault with a weapon (four counts)

This type of assault refers to when an individual — while committing an assault — carries, uses, or threatens to use a weapon or an imitation of one. This crime is prosecuted based on the severity of harm that was caused. It can be prosecuted as an indictable offense if the offender causes bodily harm using a weapon, and the maximum punishment for this charge is 10 years in prison.

Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose (two counts)

This charge is laid when an individual carries a weapon (or imitation of a weapon) without a license or permit, and has the intention to use the weapon for dangerous purposes or to commit a crime. “Weapons” include items that are prohibited under Canadian law, such as knives and guns. 

The punishment for this charge depends on whether it is prosecuted as an indictable offense. If it is, the offender can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Mischief under $5,000

According to police, this charge was laid in relation to a ripped Pride flag. This charge falls under the larger umbrella of “mischief” charges. According to the Criminal Code of Canada, mischief occurs when an individual wilfully destroys or damages property, or interferes with the lawful operation of property. Mischief charges are divided into sections depending on the financial damage caused.

Punishment for mischief charges can vary greatly. For mischief under $5,000, the maximum punishment is two years in prison, which applies if the crime is prosecuted as an indictable offense.

Hate crimes in Canada

This case is also being considered a “hate-motivated crime.” The Criminal Code does not contain charges for anything called “hate crimes,” however it does outline “hate-motivated” crimes. These occur when a crime committed against a person or property was partially or wholly motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate. The public often refers to these convictions as “hate crimes,” which can sometimes cause confusion about the specific legal terms used in Canada. Victims of hate-motivated crimes can be targeted for a number of reasons under the law. The Waterloo Regional Police Service have stated their belief that Villalba-Aleman’s antagonism towards “gender identity or expression” was the reason he targeted that specific classroom.