The early release of an offender convicted of killing a gay man in Stanley Park is proof the province’s justice system is too lenient and doesn’t protect victims of crime, the victim’s cousin says.

Ryan Cran, 26, was released from prison on Thursday, after serving two thirds of his six-year sentence for his role in the beating death of Aaron Webster.

Webster’s cousin, Denise Norman, told Metro that four years in jail isn’t enough punishment for taking a life, and that even the original six-year sentence was too lenient.

“(Cran) doesn’t even have a curfew. He can go have a party tonight with the other guys who killed Aaron if he wants,” Norman said. “Our sentence is a life sentence.”

Norman said British Columbians deserve toug­her judgments, stricter minimum sentences for violent offences and an end to statutory releases.

“The gay community are victims of this crime (too),” she said.

Spencer Herbert, NDP MLA for Vancouver-Burrard and an openly gay West End resident, said violence motivated by hate silences people and keeps them from “speaking out and being who they are.”

“The West End is supposed to be a safe place for the gay community, but ironically that also makes it a target,” he said, adding that he was recently shouted at while holding hands with his partner on the street.

Herbert said people who are discriminated against because of their sexuality should have their own victim’s services organization and a “bash line” to report attacks.

“We can’t stop being vigilant, fighting back and standing up for our rights,” Herbert said.