The editor of Your Ward News has been sentenced to one-year in jail for promoting hatred against women and members of the Jewish community.
James Sears, 55, was handed the sentence on Thursday, Aug. 22, by Ontario Court Judge Richard Blouin.
Sears and the paper’s publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, had been found guilty in January of this year of promoting hatred in the pages of their East Toronto based newspaper which frequently ran stories, photos and cartoons disparaging women and the Jewish community.
Sentencing had originally been scheduled for earlier this summer, but Judge Blouin delayed it to hear arguments from Sears that he had not been properly represented by his lawyer during a sentencing hearing in April and at the trail.
Ultimately, Judge Blouin rejected that argument by Sears and gave him the maximum sentence of one-year.
In delivering the sentence, Judge Blouin said he would have given Sears an even stiffer sentence had the law allowed it.
He said Sears and Your Ward News “promoted hate to a vast audience in an era where online exposure to this material inexorably leads to extremism and the potential for mass casualities.”
Judge Blouin suggested a sentence of 18 months would have been more appropriate, but one year was the maximum he hand down.
After the sentence was delivered, Sears was led from the Toronto courtroom in handcuffs.
Your Ward News publisher LeRoy St. Germaine, 77, will be sentenced on Aug. 29.
At a court appearance on Aug. 1, Judge Blouin had suggested St. Germaine take part in a sentencing circle which would have him meet with victims of the crime he had been convicted of, in this case members of the Jewish community and women.
On Aug. 22, Judge Blouin was told that St. Germaine was not interested in being part of a sentencing circle.
The Crown is seeking six months in jail for St. Germaine.
In a statement released late Thursday, Aug. 22, B’nai Brith Canada said it was satisfied with the sentence imposed on Sears.
“This strong sentence was necessary to send a clear message – that repeated and remorseless attempts to spread hate in Canadian society will not be tolerated,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada.
“The punishment fits the crime, and should help defer similar hateful publications today and in the future.”
In the sentencing hearing on Aug. 22, Judge Blouin also ruled that the paper will be allowed to continue to publish as long as it does not break the criminal code regarding the publication of hate literature.