B.C. blogger charged with hate crime for promoting hatred against Jews

REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Tyler Orton, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:41 PM ET

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man has been charged with a hate crime following years of complaints to human rights officials for his website, which refers to those of Jewish faith as snakes and Zionists.

Arthur Topham, a 65-year-old miner from Quesnel, was charged Monday with promoting hatred against an identifiable group and a firearms-related offence following a six-month criminal investigation into the content on his website, Radical Press, Crown officials said.

“It’s relatively uncommon to have charges sworn under this section (of the Criminal Code) in British Columbia,” Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said.

Complaints against Radical Press first surfaced in 2007 when Harry Abrams of Victoria, B.C., and Ottawa lawyer Richard Warman filed a grievance against Topham with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Abrams said the complaint ended up getting bogged down in uncertainty over the law, but police began investigating the case last spring.

“There’s a place for opinion and a place for discourse. When you have hate propaganda, it’s generally a one-sided thing that cannot be answered to,” said Abrams, a volunteer with the Jewish advocacy group B’nai B’rith Canada.

Abrams said he’s satisfied the blogger has been charged.

Topham’s lawyer Doug Christie told QMI Agency Canada’s hate-speech laws are “instruments of oppression” and there’s no evidence to support the idea that anything someone says promotes violence.

“Nobody has to look up Mr. Topham’s website unless they want to go out of their way to be offended,” he said.

 


Videos

Photos