You should immediately contact a criminal defence lawyer if you have been charged with any crime. A criminal record can affect your ability to travel, your immigration status and your ability to find work.
Only a few crimes relating to hatred are specifically mentioned in the Criminal Code. However, other crimes committed in an overtly hateful manner or with hatred as motivation can be sentenced more harshly.
In R v Andrews, the Apex Court of Canada has defined hatred in the following words: “Hatred is not merely a casual connotation. Promoting hatred is defined as “instilling detestation, animosity, ill will, and malice.” In other words, stating a stereotype or a joke would not qualify as hatred unless it was meant to instill ill will or malice.
According to section 318 of the Criminal Code, supporting genocide is a crime. The accused must have advocated for the eradication of an identifiable group in order to be found guilty. Any segment of the population characterized by colour, ethnicity, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical impairment” is the definition of an identifiable group in section 318(4).
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
“Inciting Hatred” is a crime according to Section 319(1) of the Criminal Code. Inciting hatred means making hateful remarks that are likely to lead to a disturbance of public peace.
Otherwise stated, this offence envisions making hateful remarks and inciting a riot or fanning the flames of 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
The criminal offence of Wilfully Promoting Hatred is found in Section 319(2) of the Criminal Code. 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. Still, by wilfully promoting hatred in a public forum, an individual 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 the sentence imposed as it is an aggravating factor.
For instance, if an assault charge would typically give a 3-month prison sentence, an assault against a gay victim motivated by hatred of gay people may result in a 6-month sentence. There is no exact science on how much extra time a judge could award but hateful; violent crimes are typically sentenced more harshly.
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If you have been charged with any crime you should contact a criminal lawyer immediately. Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation has criminal lawyers on staff who can assist you with you case.
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