No hate crime charges for firebomb suspects

07.27.04

The suspects in the UTT firebombing last Passover will not be charged with a hate crime:

Both Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and B’nai Brith Canada say they will not press for hate crime charges to be added to the counts of arson and conspiracy against two young men in connection with the firebombing of the St. Laurent United Talmud Torahs library in April.

Both organizations agree that the hate provisions in the Criminal Code of Canada do not appear to apply in this case. They do, however, expect that if there is a conviction, hate motivation will result in a stiffer sentence, as the law provides.

“It’s ironic because this was a deeply hateful act targeting a Jewish school, but we are stuck with a Criminal Code that has less than perfect wording,” said David Birnbaum, executive director of CJC, Quebec region.

I’m no lawyer, but to me this seems ridiculous. What point is there in having hate crime legislation if it can’t be used in an obvious case like this one?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul Jané 07.28.04 at 6:26 AM

One can only wonder if the same sort of leniency would apply to Jews accused of firebombing an Islamic school…

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2 David 07.28.04 at 10:41 AM

I think the law’s mainly made to apply to groups that don’t vote Liberal.

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3 DaninVan 07.28.04 at 4:49 PM

You mean Western Canadians?

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4 Josh 07.29.04 at 8:32 PM

Is the law going to be changed to plug the loophole, or are anti-semites going to get smarter (always a possibility, ya never know) and learn to use it?

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5 Dave 07.29.04 at 9:53 PM

I’m against hate-crime laws as such, because I worry about their potential misuse. OTOH, I don’t mind if the motivations of a perpatrator are taken into account as an aggravating factor in sentencing, so I’m actually pretty happy with this news. Well, not happy. Satisfied would be a better word.

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