The ongoing drama surrounding sabotaged mountain bike trails in North Vancouver has reached its end—at least in a legal sense. This week, a verdict was handed down in the resulting criminal trial, punishing the accused, Tineke Kraal, with a suspended sentence, three years’ probation and 150 hours of community service
Kraal, 64 years old at the time of her sentencing, told the court early in the trial, “I never wanted to hurt anybody. I’m just really sorry.”
— Ian Neville (@grnbiker) January 21, 2016
Concerns about the sabotaged network began when two cross-country riders came forward with reports of logs and rocks strewn across the trails, which they said appeared to have been put there deliberately. Fearing that others riders could be severely harmed or even killed if the obstacles were hit at high speed, they set up a hidden infrared camera to try to ascertain who was responsible.
In the footage, Kraal could be seen moving in the darkness, dragging rocks, logs and perhaps other debris on to the trail. The North Vancouver woman—whose efforts were described by the prosecution as lasting two years, during which she’d spend up to two hours a day moving the obstacles—was later arrested by RCMP leaving the woods.
Tineke Kraal – suspended sentence (will have crim record) 3 years probation, 150 hrs com service and a ban from Mtb and multi use trails.
— NSMB.com (@nsmb) January 21, 2016
Handing down the sentence, however, the judge seemed to agree with the defence’s insistence that her activities weren’t meant to hurt anyone. Kraal’s acts of sabotage, prosecutors implied, were intended to impale riders if they were hit, causing terrible injury. The judge’s verdict largely dismissed that implication, profiling her activities as more “casual,” if mischievious, and not motivated by a desire to hurt, maim or kill. The mountain bikers who set up the camera, meanwhile, were commended for their efforts in trying to catch Kraal by the RCMP, and plan to release more of the footage now that she’s been sentenced.
An unexpected result of the controversy, the CBC reported, is that there’s been greater courtesy between trail users since it all started.
Kraal, meanwhile, has been banned from mountain bike and multi-use trails.