Judge Matthew Begbie statue at the provincial courthouse in New Westminster. (City of New Westminster)

Judge Matthew Begbie statue at the provincial courthouse in New Westminster. (City of New Westminster)

New Westminster votes to remove statue of ‘Hanging Judge’ Matthew Begbie

City councillors voted 4-2 in favour of moving the statue from outside provincial court to new location

New Westminster will be removing a statue of Matthew Begbie, B.C.’s first chief justice, from outside the city’s provincial courthouse.

City council voted 4-2 in a decision Monday evening, following a motion put forward by two city councillors to move the statue in efforts to work towards truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Begbie had been the judge presiding over a trial in 1864 and 1865 that resulted in the wrongful hanging of six Tsilhqot’in Nation chiefs in Quesnel. His name is displayed on a Vancouver elementary school, as well as a street in New Westminster.

READ MORE: Should Judge Begbie statue be removed from B.C. courthouse square?

Councillors Nadine Nakagawa and Chuck Puchmayr said in their motion that the statue is a “symbol of the colonial era and this grave injustice.”

City staff have been tasked with determining the next steps – and necessary consultation – to find a new home for the statue.

This is the second statue in recent months to be removed by a B.C. city, following Victoria’s decision to move a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald from out front of its City Hall.

READ MORE: City of Victoria considers donating Sir John A. Macdonald statue to province

More to come.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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