Time to repeal our hate crime laws...
We've never been consistent in how we use these laws, and it appears that the judges are confused as well. Let's repeal all these laws.
David Ahenakew, former head of the Assembly of First Nations, had his hate crime conviction overturned Thursday by a Saskatchewan judge.I can't stand Ahenakew, but I don't want him to be convicted...embarassment is enough. Let's allow people to think what they want.
Chief Justice Robert Laing ruled that Ahenakew did not have the necessary intent needed for a conviction, and ordered a new trial.
Ahenakew was convicted of promoting hatred and fined $1,000, after he called Jews a "disease" during a conversation with a Saskatoon StarPhoenix reporter in December 2002.
Because of that conviction, former governor general Adrienne Clarkson revoked Ahenakew's Order of Canada membership, granted in 1978 for his work on native issues.
"We understand that revocation will stand regardless of (Friday's) decision," CTV's Jill Macyshon told Newsnet from Winnipeg.
Doug Christie, Ahenakew's lawyer, argued his client's comments were spontaneous and isolated, despite the fact he was speaking to a journalist.
He said that the section of the Criminal Code under which Ahenakew was convicted applies only to hate spoken "other than in private conversation," and that the taped one-on-one interview with the reporter meets that exception.
Ahenakew testified that he felt confronted and didn't see the tape recorder the reporter was using.
But the reporter, James Parker, had testified he held the tape recorder right in front of Ahenakew's face.