News Local

Vancouver repeatedly renewed rioter’s busking licence 0

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

Busker Matthew Lennox, who pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a riot,  leaves Vancouver Provincial Court in 2011. The city has repeatedly renewed his busking licence since the June 2011 mayhem. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

Busker Matthew Lennox, who pleaded guilty Thursday to participating in a riot, leaves Vancouver Provincial Court in 2011. The city has repeatedly renewed his busking licence since the June 2011 mayhem. (24 HOURS FILE PHOTO)

A guitarist who makes his living playing music in the same city where he rioted following the Canucks’ Game 7 loss in the Stanley Cup final has pleaded guilty to participating in the June 2011 mayhem.

Matthew Lennox was originally scheduled to go to trial in May on charges of participating in a riot and break-and-enter, but the street musician’s lawyer entered a guilty plea on his behalf Thursday.

The 25-year-old, whose busking licence has been renewed repeatedly by the city since the riot, told 24 hours his involvement during that destructive evening was minimal — lasting about 10 minutes — and he was drawn to the events only out of curiosity.

“I did not loot. I did not fight. I did not break. I did not steal. I did not take any action against my fellow man directly,” he said.

“When you measure that against what I’ve done for the city, I think it’s pretty clear that I’m a boon and not a destructive force.”

The guitarist added he’s lost gigs and was heckled at shows after his picture was printed in 24 hours in 2011. He eventually left town for a month to avoid the public eye.

Scott Edwards, Vancouver’s manager of street activities, said the city doesn’t conduct any background checks on buskers.

“Anyone who wishes to come in, as long as we haven’t had any previous issues or altercations where they’ve broken the rules or regulations around busking, then we will issue them another permit.”

Lennox was previously banned from certain parts of Vancouver following the riot before his lawyer was able to adjust the restrictions so he could continue performing.

He next appears in court in May for a pre-sentence report.

 

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