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.


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