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Statue of B.C.’s controversial ‘Hanging Judge’ removed from New Westminster courthouse

Judge Matthew Begbie became the first Chief Justice of the then Crown colony of B.C. in 1858

The statue of a controversial judge that stood in front of the courthouse in New Westminster is now gone.

Judge Matthew Begbie was the first Chief Justice of the then-Crown colony of British Columbia in 1858.

These days, Begbie is remembered as the judge who presided over the murder trial of six Tsilhqot’in First Nation men as part of the Chilcotin War in 1864. Five were hanged near Quesnel later that year, with a sixth hanged in New Westminster in 1865.

Premier Christy Clark exonerated the men in 2014.

Last May, New Westminster city council approved a motion from councillors Nadine Nakagawa and Chuck Puchmayr to remove the statue, with the motion saying it was a “symbol of the colonial era and this grave injustice.”

READ MORE: New Westminster council votes to remove statue of B.C.’s ‘Hanging Judge’


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