The British Columbia Supreme Court trial of R v Roy Arthur Topham concluded today in Quesnel’s Supreme Court at 11:27 a.m. when the Jury Foreman responded to the two charges laid against Arthur Topham and his website RadicalPress.com.
Both charges in the case were identical. Only the time period in which the evidence on the website was investigated differed. The charge itself read:
Roy Arthur TOPHAM, between the 28th day of April, 2011 and the 4th day of May, 2012, inclusive, at or near Quesnel, in the Province of British Columbia, did by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.
Roy Arthur TOPHAM, between the 29th day of January, 2013 and the 11th day of December, 2013, inclusive, at or near Quesnel, in the Province of British Columbia, did by communicating statements, other than in private conversation, wilfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.
When asked by the Court Registrar what the verdict was for Count 1 the Jury Foreman replied GUILTY.
When asked a second time by the Court Registrar what the verdict was for Count 2 the Jury Foreman replied NOT GUILTY.
After announcing to the court the verdict in both counts Justice Bruce Butler then thanked the jury for their time and dedication to the judicial process and following that he instructed them that anything they had discussed during the course of their deliberations was to remain secret and that to divulge anything that had taken place was a criminal offence. After that the jury was released.
Immediately upon releasing the jury Crown Prosecutor Jennifer Johnson attempted to have Topham’s bail conditions changed, presumably in order to have more stringent conditions imposed other than those already in place.
Justice Butler was not prepared to entertain the Crown’s immediate offer. Defence Attorney Barclay Johnson addressed the Justice stating that if Crown wished to alter Topham’s bail conditions then the proper procedure would be for her to file an application to that effect and a hearing take place. Justice Butler agreed and a hearing on the matter was set for Thursday, November 19th, 2015.
Following that court adjourned.
At this point in time the question remains as to why a guilty verdict was handed down for Count 1 and why a not guilty verdict was handed down for Count 2.
Speculation is that Count 1 included evidence which the jury felt wilfully promoted hatred toward people of the Jewish religion or ethnic group. Count 1 also included the book Germany Must Perish! written by the Jewish author Theodore N. Kaufman as well as the parody/satire of Kaufman’s book by Topham titled Israel Must Perish! which Crown, from the onset of the trial, has adamantly claimed was a “book” that Topham wrote rather than merely a satire of Theodore N. Kaufmann’s book.
It is believed that the jury was convinced by Crown that Topham’s satire of the original book was in fact his own work and that Topham was therefore promoting the total destruction of the Jewish people which the jury felt was proof that Topham did “wilfully promote hatred toward an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.”
The next stage in this unfolding drama could conceivably be an appeal based upon a Constitutional challenge to the criminal code’s section 319(2); one which had already been attempted back in June of 2015 but failed. It was deemed at the time of Justice Butler decision that a Charter application challenge to the legislation would be more appropriate following the outcome of the trial. Now that the outcome has resulted in a guilty verdict in Count 1 the way is open to again challenge Section 319(2) under Sec. 2b of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Sec. 319(2) of the Criminal Code must be repealed based upon a Charter challenge and the framework for such a challenge may finally be in place.