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Woman jailed for refusing to stay away from West Van library

Saima Qamar was sentenced for two stranger attacks last month, including throwing hot coffee at a library staffer and hitting a 97-year-old veteran
NV Prov crts CG
A 53-year-old woman was recently ordered detained in custody by a judge after refusing to stay away from the West Vancouver library.

A woman who was recently released from custody after being sentenced for two random attacks on strangers in West Vancouver is back in jail after refusing to stay away from the West Vancouver library.

A North Vancouver provincial court judge ordered Saima Qamar, 53, back to prison Oct. 28 after Qamar was recently arrested in the library then refused to agree to further conditions ordering her to stay away from the institution.

Last month Qamar was released from jail after spending four months in custody following two random attacks on strangers in West Vancouver, including what a prosecutor described as a “brutal assault” on a 97-year-old veteran.

Qamar was convicted of randomly hitting the senior as he was returning from grocery shopping on his electric scooter May 26 along Bellevue Avenue, breaking the man’s glasses and causing cuts to his face.

She was also convicted in October of throwing a hot cup of coffee on a staffer of the West Vancouver Memorial Library in December 2019 after the woman warned Qamar to stop verbally harassing a young woman who was studying with friends. The employee suffered first-degree burns.

During both trials last month, Qamar refused assistance from a lawyer, refused to testify and refused to provide any background information about herself.

Prosecutor Mark Slay told the judge at that time Qamar had refused to take part in psychiatric evaluations on five separate occasions while in custody.

Since being released from custody, Qamar has allegedly not reported to a probation officer and was recently spotted in the West Vancouver public library, contrary to her probation terms, leading to her arrest.

In court, Qamar told Judge Joanne Challenger she should be allowed back to the library and would refuse to obey court orders telling her to stay away.

The judge didn’t agree. “The probation is in place to protect the public,” she said. “You threw a cup of coffee on an employee of the library. So you’re not welcome there.”

Challenger told Qamar if she didn’t agree to the court orders, she would have to stay in jail, adding that choosing to spend over two more months in prison for no good reason was “a completely unreasonable position.”

Challenger added Qamar was still free to go to the North Vancouver public libraries.

After Qamar confirmed she was refusing the court orders, Challenger ordered her back to prison pending her next trial date in January.