[2001] 52 WCB (2d) 128 (ONCA)

In [2001] 52 WCB (2d) 128 (ONCA), Mr. H, a self-described Christian pastor, was convicted with willfully promoting hatred against Muslims in relation to pamphlets that he wrote and distributed, as well as a telephone messages he created and invited people to listen to. He admitted to creating the pamphlets and recording the telephone message, which contained distorted and hateful content against Muslims. Mr. H unsuccessfully argued that his speech was a good faith legitimate expression of his religious beliefs, and that the content was in the public inter-est. The court held that although the pamphlets contained some legitimate religious beliefs, the content went beyond just expressing religious beliefs and stated that religious beliefs could not be used as shield to protect the willful promotion of hatred simply because some of the content contained sincerely held religious beliefs; and it was not in the public interest and Mr. H’s subjective belief that it was in the public interest was not sufficient to meet the defense.

Mr. H claimed not to see what he proselytized as promoting hatred, despite the strong reactions he received against his literature and messages. The issue of whether willful blindness was sufficient to meet the mens rea requirement for the offence was raised by the defence. The court held it was and dismissed Mr. H’s appeal.

Also see: [2006] SCCA No 456 (Application for leave to appeal); [2006] 72 WCB (2d) 128 (ON-CA) (appeal); [2005] 66 WCB (2d) 9 (ONCJ) (appeal); [2004] OJ No 5889 (trial).


Criminal Offence(s): Hate Propaganda