I’ve gotten to know Arthur fairly well. He’s a good guy standing up for what is right. What they’ve put him through is unconscionable. If you can help Arthur financially, please do.
From: Radical Press
HELP ARTHUR TOPHAM CHALLENGE CANADA’S REPRESSIVE SEC. 319(2) “HATE PROPAGANDA” LAWS AND DEFEND FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN CANADA
Fundraising campaign by Arthur Topham
CANADIAN PUBLISHER FACING JAIL FOR POLITICAL WRITINGS NOW AWAITING DECISION ON CONSTITUTIONAL CHALLENGE TO LEGISLATION
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms under Sec. 2b of the Charter states:
2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
Dear Free Speech Supporters,
My name is Arthur Topham and I am the owner, publisher and editor of the online alternative News site RadicalPress.com which has been operating in Canada since 1998. Since 2007 I have been involved in legal battles with the Canadian government – first the Canadian Human Rights Commission (2007) and now the federal legal system (2012) over alleged offences that purportedly violate Canada’s “Hate Propaganda” laws (Sections 318 – 320) of the Canadian Criminal Code (CCC).
On May 16th, 2012 I was charged with a Sec. 319(2) ccc “Hate Propaganda” violation. I was arrested and jailed and my home was entered illegally by the RCMP’s “Hate Crime Team” who proceeded to steal all of my computers and electronic files. Since that date I have been involved in a protracted and onerous legal battle, first with the British Columbia provincial court and now with the British Columbia Supreme Court.
My trial, known as R v Roy Arthur Topham, finally got underway Monday, October 26, 2015 in Quesnel, B.C., twelve hundred and fifty-eight days (1258) after my arrest on May 16, 2012. The Indictment stated that I, Arthur Topham, did “willfully promote hatred against an identifiable group, people of the Jewish religion or ethnic origin, contrary to Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code.” The trial was presided over by Supreme Court Justice, Mr. Bruce Butler and consisting of a 12-member jury of my peers (8 women and 4 men).
Of primary importance in understanding the nature and outcome of the trial is the fact that I was charged TWICE with the same Sec. 319(2) criminal offence. The first time was the day of my arrest on May 16, 2012 and the second time was January 14, 2014. The wording of the second Indictment was identical to that of the first. The reason for the second charge, like that of the first, was so that Crown might try again to have my bail conditions altered in order to prevent me from publishing. These additional attempts (there were three in all) to increase the severity of the bail conditions were buttressed upon the questionable pretext by Crown that the police investigation was “ongoing” and therefore the second Indictment (Count 2) was merely a result of additional evidence gleaned from posts I had added to my website after my initial bail conditions ended on October 9, 2012.
Throughout the whole of the 14-day trial what stood out most for the defence (as well as many observers in the gallery) was the overwhelming volume of documentary evidence (all taken from the RadicalPress.com website) which the Crown downloaded on to the jury. Coupled with that fact was the additionally onerous presence of two bulky Binders which were of such poor quality they were virtually unreadable, thus making the task of comprehending the details of the evidence not only formidable but in all likelihood an impossibility for the jury to comprehend. In fact it wasn’t until the morning of Friday, November 6th, ten days into the trial, that new exhibits of Binders 3 & 4 were finally made available to jury members.
On the afternoon of Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 Supreme Court Justice Bruce Butler read out his Charge to the jury. On top of the other thousands of pages of online books and articles the jury was now given an additional 62-page document instructing them on how to go about deliberating on all of the evidence presented over the previous 12 days of the trial. After reading out the document to the jury Justice Butler then instructed them to retire and seek a decision on the two counts.
The decision was rendered on the morning of Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 11:27 a.m.
Count 1: Guilty
Count 2: Not Guilty
Once the initial shock of the guilty verdict in Count 1 had subsided and time allowed for a reconsideration of all of the events surrounding the trial it became apparent that the verdict of “Guilty” in Count 1 was, in reality, the key to opening the door for my (the Defence’s) ultimate objective which was to challenge the Constitutional legitimacy of the actual section of the Canadian Criminal Code (Sec. 319(2) now containing the infamous “Hate Propaganda” legislation which threatens freedom of expression for all Canadians.
After numerous delays on July 11th, 2016 a date was finally fixed for the hearing to be heard in Quesnel Supreme Court beginning the week of October 3rd to October 7th, 2016. Par for the course the time allotted for the Charter argument to be heard proved insufficient and second date of October 19th, 2016 was set with the proceedings to continue in the Vancouver Supreme Court and then following that the week of November 7th, 8th and 9th, 2016 was set for the completion of arguments on the Bedford Threshold. The final November dates set for the hearing took place in Victoria, B.C.
For a more in-depth report on the Charter hearing please see the Legal Update posted November 19, 2016.
Upon completion of the hearing Justice Bruce Butler announced that his decision on the matter would not be handed down until March 11, 2017. The outcome of that decision will determine what further action will be taken. In the interim period while awaiting the decision I am attempting to cover the costs related to the ongoing four and one half years of litigation. There are still outstanding bills to be paid to cover the costs of Expert Witnesses plus Transcripts to purchase and preparations to be put in place in the event that the Charter challenge fails and the case moves to Sentencing.
Should the challenge to Sec. 319(2) fail then my next and final option will take place during Sentencing (date still to be set) when I will have to decide whether or not to appeal the guilty verdict in Count 1 or accept my fate. In the event that I win the Charter argument there is a very strong likelihood that the BC Supreme Court will automatically appeal the decision. If they do the case would then shift from the BC Supreme Court to the Supreme Court of Canada and entail at least another 2 – 3 years of further litigation.
Your help in keeping this battle alive is essential and any assistance is gratefully and sincerely acknowledged.
To read the full text of the Transcript of the trial please go to the following url? http://www.radicalpress.com/?page_id=9133
For the full text of the Memorandum of Argument please go here and read it in pdf format.
The future of Sec. 319(2) of Canada’s Criminal Code will depend in part on the outcome of the planned Constitutional challenge now scheduled to take place during the week of October 3 – 7, 2016. Please try to assist me in making this challenge a success for the future of freedom of speech in Canada. It’s vital that we win this battle to protect Canada’s Constitutional Right to Freedom of Speech.
I continue to have the support of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. Please see here Ontario Civil Liberties Association and here http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2014-09-… and here OCLA writes to Attorney General Anton on September 24, 2014
Please try to donate online using this GoGetFunding site but if you are unable to do so then try helping out by sending either cash, a cheque or a Money Order to the following postal address. Please make sure that all cheques or Money Orders are made out to – Arthur Topham – and sent to:
4633 Barkerville Highway
Thank You so much!
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