The two men behind a free Toronto area newspaper that promotes legalizing rape and denies the Holocaust were found guilty on Thursday of promoting hatred against women and Jews.
In delivering his verdict against James Sears and LeRoy St. Germaine, Ontario court Judge Richard Blouin called evidence of their guilt overwhelming.
Sears, 55, the editor-in-chief and St. Germaine, 77, the publisher, had argued Your Ward News was meant to be satire but Blouin said there was nothing funny about their odious views.
If what they were doing didn’t amount to wilful hate promotion, the judge said, nothing would.
“Both men were fully aware of the unrelenting promotion of hate in YWN,” Blouin said in his ruling. “(They) intended that hatred to be delivered to others.”
Activist and political consultant Lisa Kinsella, who had been a target of the newspaper multiple times, along with her husband, lawyer Warren Kinsella, said she was grateful for the judge’s decision and called it a historic day for women.
“He absolutely made the right finding. I’m grateful that, for the first time in Canadian history, not only was this charge laid – this section 319 charge promoting hatred against women – but they were found guilty.” she said.
“This is a great day, a historic day for women and, of course, everyone identified within Your Ward News who has been targeted with their hate.”
Last year a judge found Sears not guilty of threatening to kill the Kinsellas an a November 2017 issue of Your Ward News.
Following this recent verdict, Sears, who compared himself to a persecuted Jesus, said he would be appealing.
“We respect the fact that Judge Blouin has found us guilty, however, we are not afraid. We have Jesus on our side and we’re going to appeal,” he told the media.
“We’re the largest, Christian backed newspaper in the world and I find it very hard to believe that what we published about Jews and women, which a lot of it is right out of the bible, is hate speech in Canada. It’s a very dark day for Christianity.”
— Cristina Howorun (@CityCristinaH) January 24, 2019
Sentencing in the case is set for April 26.
The prosecution argued Your Ward News was filled with “vile and degrading” articles and imagery.
Prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt told the trial the publication demonizes feminists as “dangerous people” and calls women “tri-orficed chattels.”
The paper also brands most feminists as “satanists exhilarated by abortion,” claims women are inferior, and that feminism encourages rape, court heard.
The paper also contains repeated claims of a worldwide, blood-thirsty Jewish conspiracy. Flumerfelt said its imagery depicts Jews as devils with serpent tongues and reptilian hands, argues Jews were behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Holocaust was a Jewish myth to strengthen their control of the world.
“These are examples of the communications that the defendants made available to hundreds of thousands of homes without being asked,” Flumerfelt told court.
Sears and St. Germaine had pleaded not guilty to two counts each of wilfully promoting hatred against identifiable groups.
Sears’ lawyer Dean Embry had tried to argue that the courts should not criminalize anti-feminist sentiment. The publication, the lawyer said, only takes aim at some women and some Jews, and while it may be offensive and go too far at times, it doesn’t advocate hatred or violence against those groups.
St. Germaine and Sears, who lost his medical licence in the early 1990s for sexual misconduct with three women, face a maximum sentence of a $5,000 fine or six weeks in jail.