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Man accused of threatening Jews must stay away from synagogues, schools

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A Montreal man charged with inciting hate after he allegedly made threats of death and violence against Jews, specifically schoolchildren, must abide by more restrictive bail conditions.

At Robert Gosselin’s latest court appearance on Jan. 7, he agreed not to be on the premises of, or to communicate with, any synagogue or Jewish school in the city.

The additional conditions were requested by the Crown, which was responding to concerns raised by the Jewish community that the terms of Gosselin’s release following his arrest in October were too lenient. Many, especially in the Orthodox community, feared for their children’s safety because of Gosselin’s online posts.

As Gosselin has complied with the initial conditions of his bail, those added to it had to be accepted by him.

Le Journal de Montréal’s Facebook page.

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) welcomed the development as “a positive step.”

“Mr. Gosselin threatened to murder Jewish schoolchildren. The initial bail conditions should have banned Gosselin from being in the proximity of Jewish institutions,” said Rabbi Reuben Poupko, CIJA’s Quebec co-chair. “The fact that he is henceforth prohibited from being on the premises of Jewish schools and places of worship, for which we advocated, is of some comfort to Jewish parents and schoolchildren.”

Gosselin, 55, who has no criminal record, was charged on Oct. 26 with two counts of uttering threats and one count of inciting hatred against an identifiable group via social media.

On Oct. 24 he posted a series of violent and offensive anti-Semitic comments on Le Journal de Montréal’s Facebook page and was arrested shortly thereafter.

Robert Gosselin is accused of uttering threats against Céline Dion’s children. (Anirudh Koul/CC BY 2.0)

Most disturbingly, he made a specific threat against Jewish children. Gosselin wrote in French that he would “eliminate Jews by killing a whole Jewish girls’ school. That’s not a threat, it’s a promise!”

He also wrote: “A good Jew serves as firewood,” and “There is no one more anti-Zionist than me! and I will surely kill!”

Gosselin is also charged with making threats of physical harm against the children of singer Céline Dion.

On Oct. 26, he was released on a $500 bond, ordered not to use social media and to keep the peace.

This was Gosselin’s fourth court appearance. He is due back in court on March 4 for another pro forma hearing. The delay in proceeding to trial has been due to his inability to find and keep a lawyer.

His new lawyer asked for time to become fully informed about the case.

“The judge expressed some frustration about the postponement,” said David Ouellette, CIJA’s Quebec director of research and public affairs.