Consequences of Hate

Hate crimes that are reported to police are taken seriously. People that are convicted of a hate crime may face more severe sentencing than other criminal offences that are not motivated by hate.

The government, police and community organizations are united against hate crimes. These organizations exist in order to protect and support individuals and communities impacted by attacks based on identity.

What Can Be Expected When Reporting

When an individual reports a hate crime, they can expect that law enforcement officers will be sensitive to the victim’s unique identity and acknowledge that it may be a contributing factor in the incident. Officers will respect the reporters’ perspective and be mindful of the victim’s identity while investigating the case. Every report is taken very seriously.

As a reporter of crime, officers will share updates with the victim and keep them informed of the proceedings.

The following are examples of legal cases that have happened in Canada:


1. Hate Propaganda Offence [Section 318, 319 of CCC]

R. v. Keegstra, [2009] 3 S.C.R. 697
OFFENCE

Hate Propaganda

Mr. Keegstra who had been teaching Social Studies in a local high school in Eckville, Alberta allegedly taught his students racially prejudiced material targeting Jewish people.

SENTENCE

One-year suspended sentence, one year of probation, and 200 hours of community service work.

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

Parliament has recognised the substantial harm that can flow from hate propaganda, and in trying to prevent the pain suffered by target group members and to reduce racial, ethnic and religious tension in Canada.


R. v. Harding, [2001] SCJ/ONCA
OFFENCE

Wilful promotion of hatred

Mr. Harding, a self-described Christian pastor, created and distributed pamphlets that describe Muslims as dangerous people capable of terrorism, great cruelty and that they are intolerant of other faiths.

SENTENCE

300 hours of community service

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

The offence was based on the offender’s hatred towards the Muslim religion. The nature of the material clearly demonstrated hatred against an identifiable group.


R. v. Nicholson, [2006] 2 Cr App R 30
OFFENCE

Promoting hatred against identifiable groups

This was the first case in Canada in which a person was prosecuted for promoting hate propaganda on the Internet. A search of Nicholson’s computer revealed evidence of his public comments, his communications on web pages, and his e-mails, which promoted hatred and provided the basis for his charge.

SENTENCE

One-year conditional sentence in the community with conditions, including a prohibition from using a computer or communicating on the Internet.

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

The offender would have gone to jail for the hate propaganda offence had he not already received a sentence in custody for the other charges.


2. Hate and Bias Motivation [Section 718.2(a)(i) of CCC]

R. v. Miloszewski et al, [1999] B.C.J. No. 2710 (Prov. Ct.),
OFFENCE

Manslaughter motivated by Hate

Miloszewski along with four other accomplices had been drinking and broke into a fenced parking lot adjacent to a Sikh temple intending to vandalize automobiles. The victim, a caretaker at the temple confronted the group and they attacked him. The caretaker was later found near the temple and taken to hospital, where he died of his injuries.
One of the offenders (referred to as L.E.N.) later admitted to instigating the attack for the purposes of being recruited into a skinhead organization.

SENTENCE

18 years custody (L.E.N.), 15 years custody (remaining offenders)

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

This was an unprovoked, racially-motivated killing, perpetrated by a band of neo-Nazi skinheads. L.E.N. was 17 years old; the other offenders were between 20 and 25. All but one were first offenders. A victim impact statement that was filed on behalf of the Temple, indicated that the offence had caused members of the Sikh community to fear for their safety.


R. v. Van-Brunt, [2003] B.C.J. No. 3226 (Prov. Ct.)
OFFENCE

Aggravated Assault motivated by Hate

Mr. Brunt and his passenger hurled racial slurs as they drove past an African Canadian who had been waiting for a taxi late at night. The victim said he did not want trouble, however Mr. Van-Brunt got out of the car and struck the victim on the forehead with a metal bar. The victim’s wound required 23 stitches and months to heal and he suffered migraine headaches up to the time of trial.

SENTENCE

Nine months custody, 3 years probation

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

This was an instance of a serious and unprovoked hate-motivated assault, on a stranger. Prior to this attack, 22-year-old Van-Brunt had no criminal record.


R. v. Peers and Wilson, [1999] B.C.J. No. 100463 (Prov. Ct.)
OFFENCE

Promoting hatred against identifiable groups

The two accused were walking on Davie St. drinking beer and uttering threats about harming gay people. One person approached them and was challenged to a fight. The complainant retreated. Peers punched the complainant several times while the other two attempted to restrain him.

SENTENCE

Both were sentenced to terms of imprisonment.

SENTENCING CONSIDERATIONS

In separate hearings, Peers plead guilty to assault and Wilson plead guilty to causing a disturbance in a public place.