(Aug 11, 2010)

The woman called police when two men, who had been taunting her, arrived at her door.

She'd seen them around her Westdale neighbourhood over a couple of weeks since the start of July -- two men she did not know yelling racial slurs at her. The last straw was July 16. The two men followed her home and pounded on her door. She called 911.

Hamilton police identified two suspects in their investigation and last week arrested Shane Gill, 38, of no fixed address, at an address in St. Catharines. They also arrested Richard Martin, 23, of no fixed address, at the Hamilton- Wentworth detention centre where he was in custody on an unrelated matter. Both men have been charged with criminal harassment with hate/bias overtones.

The two men appeared in Hamilton court Friday for bail hearings but were remanded until they can obtain counsel.

Though both suspects were of no fixed address, they were apparently living in the woman's neighbourhood at the time of the alleged offences. Police will not identify the nature of the racial remarks or what ethnic community the woman identifies with.

Police Sergeant Terri-Lynn Collings said the case is an alleged hate/bias crime that went beyond the kind of thing usually seen in Hamilton because there was repeated contact.

The incident is relatively rare because it meets the criminal harassment test in that it caused someone to fear for their safety.

Collings could not recall similar charges being laid in Hamilton in recent years.

"We don't often see this," said Collings, adding that could be due to a number of factors including having enough evidence to lay such a charge and having a witness willing to take the case through the court process.

Collings said Hamilton Police victims services and community relations staff will be assisting the complainant each step of the way.