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Digest of the Week — Hate Speech

2012 CarswellNS 289 |
R. v. B. (A.) |
Nova Scotia Provincial Court

Criminal law | Offences | Hate propaganda | Wilful promotion of hatred

Trial of accused for dissemination of hate propaganda or wilful promotion of hatred, contrary to s. 319(2) of Criminal Code, and for mischief — Accused and two friends went on vandalism spree in area near his home — They sprayed racist and obscene statements on garages and in baseball field — Accused and his friends also painted racist slogans on property of only black family who lived in neighbourhood — He admitted to some of vandalism acts when confronted with statement of one of his friends who directly implicated him — He was party to entire act of vandalism- Accused was only convicted of mischief — Words and symbols that were used were intensely hateful and racist — However, what was intended was not promotion of hatred — Wide range of people were targeted for vandalism attacked Jews, African Nova Scotians and police — Graffiti shocked anyone offended by sexual vulgarity and anyone who disapproved of vandalism in general — Accused was 17 years old when he committed offences — He did not act in response to anything in particular and no incident ignited these crimes — He did not have a cause and he was not part of group that promoted racism — Accused was not guilty under s. 319(2) because intent to promote hatred was not proven beyond reasonable doubt — Mischief conviction was aggravated by expressions of extreme racism and it was further grossly aggravated by manner in which expressions were specifically directed.
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