Graphic warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers
The Kelowna man accused of killing or injuring an animal, causing unnecessary pain to an animal and publishing obscene matter has had his court date set for next year.
Leighton Labute initially faced six charges, but according to the B.C. Prosecution Service those were consolidated to two — one for killing “one or more hamsters” and another for causing them unnecessary pain or suffering in connection to alleged incidents in May 2019.
The 21-year-old appeared in a Kelowna Provincial Court Thursday (Nov. 26) to have his trial date fixed. His trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 16, 2021, and expected to last three days.
Around the time Labute was charged on May 25, social media accounts emerged that appeared to be linked to him.
An Instagram account with over 7,000 followers, which includes Labute’s name in the bio, consists largely of photos of anthropomorphic clay sculptures and dolls depicting gore and rape. The first post appears to have been created on May 1, 2016.
Black Press Media has chosen not to name the account due to the graphic nature of the content.
A YouTube account, also thought to belong to Labute, contains similar content, as well as vulgar discussions of his sexual fantasies, some involving sex dolls. One video on that account, dated May 14, 2019, shows a man with three hamsters. In the video, the man states he bought the hamsters recently.
The description of the video simply reads, “pin stabbed, drowned, microwaved,” though no such content is shown.
Labute was released on $1,000 bail after being charged. A group of residents, some of whom are neighbours of Labute, protested outside the Kelowna Law Courts in August.
“The fact that he was let out almost instantly on bail with no house arrest is super concerning for our community,” protest organizer BoDreay Fraser said at the time.