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What is a Hate Crime?

A hate crime is a serious criminal offence in Canada.

A hate crime is a serious criminal offence in Canada.

  • In Canada out right to free speech is not unlimited. It is subject to reasonable limitations.
  • Section 1 of the Charter allows the government to pass laws that limit free expression so long as the limits are reasonable and can be justified in a free and democratic society.
  • These limitations are a subject of controversy.
  •  According to the Criminal Code a  hate crime is defined as an act that is committed to intimidate, harm or terrify not only a person, but an entire group of people to which the complainant belongs. The complaints  are targeted for who they are, not because of an action they have committed.
  • The motive of an action can render it a hate crime. An action is a hate crime if that action is  determined to be motivated by hatred.
  • The hate crime may involve intimidation, harassment, physical force or threat of physical force against a person, a group or a property.
  • It is a criminal offence in Canada to commit a hate crime.
  •  Sections 318 and 319 of the criminal code define inciting hatred as a criminal offence in Canada.
  • Furthermore,  sentencing principles as defined in 718.2 of the Criminal Code, encourages judges to consider whether the crime was motivated by hate of the victim’s race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation or any other similar factor.
  • Should hatred me a motive of a crime it is considered an aggravating factor and may be reason for a harsher sentence.

 

Advocating genocide
  • 318 (1) Every one who advocates or promotes genocide is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
  • Marginal note:Definition of genocide

    (2) In this section, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group, namely,

    • (a) killing members of the group; or
    • (b) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.
  • Marginal note:Consent

    (3) No proceeding for an offence under this section shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

  • Marginal note:Definition of identifiable group

    (4) In this section, identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability.

  • Public incitement of hatred
    • 319 (1) Every one who, by communicating statements in any public place, incites hatred against any identifiable group where such incitement is likely to lead to a breach of the peace is guilty of
      • (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
      • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
    • Marginal note:Wilful promotion of hatred

      (2) Every one who, by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promotes hatred against any identifiable group is guilty of

      • (a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years; or
      • (b) an offence punishable on summary conviction.
    • Marginal note:Defences

      (3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2)

      • (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true;
      • (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text;
      • (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or
      • (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.
    • Marginal note:Forfeiture

      (4) Where a person is convicted of an offence under section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section, anything by means of or in relation to which the offence was committed, on such conviction, may, in addition to any other punishment imposed, be ordered by the presiding provincial court judge or judge to be forfeited to Her Majesty in right of the province in which that person is convicted, for disposal as the Attorney General may direct.

    • Marginal note:Exemption from seizure of communication facilities

      (5) Subsections 199(6) and (7) apply with such modifications as the circumstances require to section 318 or subsection (1) or (2) of this section.

    • Marginal note:Consent

      (6) No proceeding for an offence under subsection (2) shall be instituted without the consent of the Attorney General.

    • Marginal note:Definitions

      (7) In this section,

      communicating includes communicating by telephone, broadcasting or other audible or visible means; (communiquer)
      identifiable group has the same meaning as in section 318; (groupe identifiable)
      public place includes any place to which the public have access as of right or by invitation, express or implied; (endroit public)
      statements includes words spoken or written or recorded electronically or electro-magnetically or otherwise, and gestures, signs or other visible representations. (déclarations)718.2 A court that imposes a sentence shall also take into consideration the following principles:
      (a) a sentence should be increased or reduced to account for any relevant aggravating or mitigating circumstances relating to the offence or the offender, and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing,
      (i) evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor

 

10 Aug 2017

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