Free Speech Takes a Slam in Arthur Topham Verdict
QUESNEL, BRITISH COLUMBIA, November 12, 2015. An eight woman, four-man jury delivered its mixed verdict at 11:27 this morning in the Arthur Topham free speech trial. M,r. Topham was charged with two counts of “willfully promoting hate” against a privileged minority, specifically Jews, under Canada’s notorious Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code — the hate law. The jury acquitted him on one count but convicted him on the other.
Almost immediately Crown Attorney Jennifer Johnston was on her feet wanting Mr. Topham’s bail conditions amended and his website radicalpress.com shut down.
Not so fast, Judge Brian Butler ruled. She was told to file and application which will be heard Thursday November 19 by video hookup, with the judge in Vancouver and defence lawyer Barclay Johnson in Victoria.
The defence had sought to file a constitutional challenge at the start of proceedings. Judge Butler ruled that the challenge must await the end of the trial and a guilty verdict, should such be the case. Barclay Johnson explains that the judge said a constitutional challenge would have to await the establishment of “a factual context” is this case. “This case is very different in context from the Keegstra case in which the Supreme Court, in 1990, while finding that Sec. 319 does violate freedom of speech, did, by a narrow margin, uphold the law. “In Keegstra,” says Mr. Johnson, ” Jim Keegstra was teaching his views to a high school class, a captive audience. In this case, Mr. Topham ran a website. People had to willingly seek it out to read his opinions.”
The constitutional challenge will be filed within the 30-day limit.
Mr. Topham, still in good spirits, pronounced himself a bit disappointed and puzzled by the jury’s decision.”It was so odd to find me guilty of one count but not both. I think the jury thought I wrote a call for the genocide of Jews in the satire Israel Must Perish. it’s not even my book. I took the wording directly from Theodore Kaufman’s book Germany Must Perish” written in 1941. “This would seem to confirm indirectly that Germany Must Perish is a work of hate and written by a Jew.” yet, although then Detective Const. Terry Wilson of the B.C. Hate Squad said he’s been aware of Germany Must Perish for some years, no charges were ever laid.
“Despite the acquittal on one count, this is a sad day for freedom of speech in Canada,” said Paul Fromm, Director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression which has supported Mr. Topham from the beginning in 2007, when he first became the target of Zionist groups trying to shut him down for his criticism of Israel. “After today’s verdict, it becomes just a little more difficult to criticize privileged minorities in Canada. However, the battle to rid this country of this thought control legislation will continue,” he vowed.