Toronto man given 9 months in jail for promoting hatred
Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014 2:43PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 1, 2014 2:51PM EDT
A Toronto man has been sentenced to nine months in jail after he was convicted of willfully promoting hatred against Muslims -- a charge rarely laid in Ontario courtrooms.
Eric Brazau was found guilty in February of the charge only after police and the Crown attorney received consent from the deputy attorney general.
The hate charge stemmed from incidents dating back to September 2012, when Brazau handed out homemade flyers bearing the hand-written words, "They are here and breeding." Printed below was an excerpt from the Qur'an, which read, "Kill them wherever you find them."
Brazau was sentenced to nine months in jail on Tuesday afternoon. However, since Brazau has already spent 9.5 months in pretrial custody, he will not be held any longer.
In addition, he must serve 18 months' probation, cannot contact victims and must avoid certain places where he was known to distribute flyers.
Brazau told CTV Toronto that no sentence would deter him from continuing to spread his sentiments about Islam.
The flyers included photos of men, women and children dressed in tradition Muslim garb, including one photo of a Toronto man and his wife as she pushed a stroller.
On the other side of the pamphlet were "a number of graphic images... (that) associated the Islamic religion and the prophet Muhammad with pedophilia, bestiality and Satanism," Justice Ford Clements wrote in a judgement last February.
Brazau was also convicted of criminal harassment and mischief, after blocking the path of the Toronto man shown in his flyer and photographing him as he attempted to walk down a pathway. Court heard Brazau had on an earlier occasion confronted the same man and called him "a terrorist."
Given that Brazau was on probation for a previous conviction at the time, he was also charged with -- and ultimately convicted of -- breaching his probation by not keeping the peace.
"Brazau argued that while the flyer contained images that were offensive and in bad taste, they did not or were not intended to instill '...detestation, ill will, enmity and malevolence in another,'" Clements wrote.
But Clements disagreed, saying that Brazau designed his flyers not to promote dispassionate debate and discussion, but to produce hostility and scorn.
He wrote that Brazau knew the material would hurt and anger the community he targeted.
"These images (on Brazau's flyer) not only represented vilification but detestation or intense dislike of Muslims and their religion. They represented a level of bigotry in the sense of demonstrating prejudice, insensitivity and intolerance towards Muslims and their religious values," Clements wrote.
With files from CTV Toronto's Tamara Cherry