News Local

Hate crime charges levelled against B.C. blogger following six-month investigation

By Tyler Orton, 24 Hours Vancouver

A B.C. man is facing hate-speech charges following years of complaints over his website, which refers to those of Jewish faith as snakes and Zionists.

Arthur Topham, a miner from Quesnel, B.C, was charged Monday with one count of promoting hatred against an identifiable group following a six-month criminal investigation into the content on his website, Radical Press.

“It’s relative uncommon to have charges sworn under this section (of the Criminal Code) in British Columbia,” Crown spokesman Neil MacKenzie said, adding the 65-year-old is also facing a firearms-related offence.

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, adding he’s satisfied police have filed charges against the blogger.

Topham’s lawyer Doug Christie told 24 hours 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.


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions