If you have been charged with any crime you should contact a criminal defence lawyer immediately. A criminal record can affect your ability to travel, your immigration status and your ability to find work.
There are only a couple hatred related crime explicitly listed in the Criminal Code. However other crimes committed in an overtly hateful manner or with hatred as a motivation can be sentenced more harshly. Hatred has been defined by the Supreme Court in R v Andrews as follows; “Hatred is not a word of casual connotation. To promote hatred is to instil detestation, enmity, ill-will and malevolence in another”. In other words, stating a stereotype or a joke would not qualify as hatred unless it was meant to instill ill-will, or malevolence.
Advocating Genocide is a criminal offence per section 318 of the Criminal Code. In order to be convicted the accused must have advocated for the destruction of an identifiable group. An identifiable group is defined in section 318(4) as;“any sectionof the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, nationalor ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, genderidentity or expression, or mental or physical disability.” In order for a charge to proceed under this section it must be approved by the Attorney General. If found guilty, the accused could face up to 5 years imprisonment.
Public Incitement of Hatred
Section 319(1) of theCriminal Code makes it an offence to “Incite Hatred”. Inciting hatred means making hateful remarks that are likely to lead to a disturbance of the public peace. In other words, this offence envisions making hateful remarks and inciting a riot, or fanning the flames of a hate fueled crime. This is a hybrid offence, if the Crown proceeds by indictment there could be up to two years imprisonment upon conviction.
Wilfully Promoting Hatred
Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code contains the offence of Wilfully Promoting Hatred. Unlike the inciting offence, a possible disturbance of public disorder is not required for this offence. A private conversation will not count as an offence, but by wilfully promoting hatred in a public forum, you could be convicted of this hybrid offence which is punishable by up to two years imprisonment if the Crown proceeds by indictment.
Hatred as an Aggravating Factor in Sentencing
When a crime is committed other than those listed, hateful conduct or motives can increase a sentence imposed as it is an aggravating factor. For example, if an assault charge would typically be given a 3-month prison sentence, an assault against a gay victim motivated by hatred of gay people people may result in a 6-monthsentence. There is no exact science on how much extra time a judge could award but hateful, violent crimes are typically sentenced more harshly.
If you have been charged with any crime you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately. Mehdi Au LLP has criminal lawyers on staff who can assist you with you case. We accept Legal Aid Certificates.
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