On July 15, the Ontario court of justice delayed sentencing the editor of Your Ward News, a Toronto-based newspaper that is known for publishing anti-Semitic, racist, misogynist and homophobic content. James Sears was found guilty of promoting hate against Jews and women last January.
The judge delayed the sentencing to allow Sears to argue for a mistrial, or to re-open the proceedings. Sears fired his lawyer following the verdict, saying that his lawyer, who didn’t call any defence witnesses, threw the case, The Canadian Press reported. The judge said that Sears, who represented himself at the hearing, must show exceptional circumstances to warrant forgoing the sentencing.
“Those who spread anti-Semitism or any other form of hate must be held accountable. Mr. Sears has a long record of promoting grotesque anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia and racism,” stated Noah Shack of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“We appreciate the diligent work of the courts, prosecutors and police. The evidence against Mr. Sears is overwhelming and we are confident that the guilty verdict will remain. Your Ward News is an example of why Canada’s hate speech laws are necessary. We can preserve freedom of expression while taking action, in rare and exceptional cases, to disrupt those who systematically promote hate propaganda.”