An Ontario court has found James Sears, the editor-in-chief of Your Ward News, not guilty of uttering death threats against anti-racism activists Warren and Lisa Kinsella.
“Having considered all of the evidence, I am unable to find that the threat to kill interpretation … is even the most likely interpretation, let alone the only reasonable interpretation,” Ontario Superior Court Judge Dan Moore wrote.
The finding comes about six weeks after Judge Moore heard allegations that Sears had written an article that was a call to violence against the Kinsellas. Charges against LeRoy St. Germaine, the publisher of Your Ward News, were dropped in October.
Standing Together Against Mailing Prejudice (STAMP), an organization founded by the Kinsellas to fight Your Ward News, slammed the court ruling.
“STAMP is appalled that Sears has been allowed to get away with uttering death threats,” said Lisa Kinsella.
“This same judge previously dismissed an uttering death threats charge against the publisher of Your Ward News, Leroy St. Germaine – even though the courts had videotape evidence of St. Germaine confirming that nothing got into that hate rag without his approval,” said Warren Kinsella, the author of several books on organized racism.
“When that decision was made, we were expecting today’s unfortunate decision to set free a neo-Nazi with a history of advocating violence. Despite our disappointment, however, we will not relent in fighting this vile hate group. The fight goes on,” Warren Kinsella added.
The case arises from an article penned by Sears in the summer 2017 issue of Your Ward News.
The alleged threat came at the end of a long article about a Children’s Aid Society of Toronto (CAS) investigation into Sears and his family. Sears stated that he believed whoever filed the complaint with CAS was likely motivated by an article written by Lisa Kinsella.
“If I told my friends, thousands of people on my mailing list, and hundreds of thousands of readers of Your Ward News about it, while a CAS investigation was active and our son could still have been kidnapped, there was the chance that some hothead who cares deeply about me and my family would lose it and do something illegal, like bludgeon the Kinsellas to death,” Sears wrote.
“No matter how little respect I have for them, as a Christian, I chose to turn the other cheek and let enough time pass for the people who love, would give their lives for or would go to jail for me.”
Testifying at the trial, Kinsella said that, “We regarded the article as a call to action, that we should be bludgeoned to death.”
Lisa Kinsella told the court that she felt that statement was a threat against “me, my husband, our six children and my grandchild.”
However, Sears’s lawyer, Chris Murphy, suggested to Warren Kinsella that the case was a “battle for publicity” and that the alleged death threat was not serious.
The case was only heard after the Kinsellas launched a private prosecution when police refused to lay charges. The Crown later agreed to take over the prosecution of it.
Your Ward News has come under fire from the Kinsellas and numerous recipients of the publication for its pro-Nazi content, attacks on minorities and anti-Semitic articles. It has also targeted the Kinsellas on numerous occasions, at one point running a cartoon of Warren Kinsella drinking blood and another with his head pasted on the body of a snake.
The current case is only one of several legal challenges faced by Your Ward News.
Last month, the federal government issued a final prohibitory order preventing Canada Post from delivering the newspaper.
Both Sears and St. Germaine also face charges of promoting hate, in a case that is ongoing and is expected to conclude shortly.