Montreal man ordered to pay $7,708 to panhandler

Aug. 6, 2013 at 4:03 PM   |   Comments

MONTREAL, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- A Montreal man who called a panhandler overweight and questioned her mental state has been ordered to pay the woman $7,708.

Quebec's human rights commission ordered the man to pay the sum to the woman after an email he wrote to the manager of the SAQ liquor store in 2010 was deemed discriminatory, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

The commission heard the woman, who is in her 60s and suffers from a degenerative bone disease, panhandles outside the store for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays to supplement her social assistance payments.

The man's email described the woman as overweight, a "drunk" and with "no apparent IQ."

The email suggested "solutions" to the city's panhandling problem, including a "Chinese solution" proposing the panhandlers each get "a bullet to the neck and send the bill for the bullet to the deceased bum's family."

An SAQ customer service representative said the customer had previously sent hostile emails to the store.

The store shared the email with the woman, who was advised by police to take her complaint to the human rights commission.

The commission brushed aside the letter writer's contention that the email was not meant to be seen by the panhandler.

"Any ordinary person in the same situation as the victim, and anyone who was the target of these words, would have suffered a loss of dignity because of the contempt demonstrated by the defendant," the decision read.

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