Judge acquits David Ahenakew of wilfully promoting hate at second trial

 
Dear Free Speech Supporter:
 
Huge congatulations to the "Battling Barrister" Doug Christie of Victoria, Canada's most experienced free speech champion, who, working pro bono [where are you Alan Borovoy and all you other establishment, well-funded "civil liberties" loudmouths?) got Saskatchewan Chief David Ahenakew off on a charge under Sec. 319 of Canada's notorious "hate law."
 
" A judge acquitted David Ahenakew on Monday of wilfully promoting hatred against Jews, but not before chiding the former aboriginal leader for his comments.Provincial court Judge Wilfred Tucker said the remarks made six years ago were 'revolting, disgusting and untrue'." (Canadian Press, February 23, 2009)
 
[Of course, it's amazing that a judge should seem called upon to criticize the nature of the remarks of a man he's acquitted! But such is  the  situation in politically correct Canada.]
 
Chief Ahenakew " wouldn't discuss whether he's still sorry he made the comments. He said the long legal battle hasn't changed him. 'I'm still the same guy that was born, that served the world, that served the army, that served the people. I'm still that same guy. And I'm too damn old now to change anyways.'

Ahenakew testified at his second trial that he doesn't hate Jews but still believes they caused the war. 'Everybody says I'm a Jew-hater,' he told court. 'I don't hate the Jews, but I hate what they do to people.' ...  During the speech, Ahenakew blamed Jews for causing the Second World War. A newspaper reporter later asked him to clarify his comments. 'How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?' Ahenakew responded. 'The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe.'That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God-damned world.'  ...

But Tucker said he couldn't ascribe an ill motive to Ahenakew because he never intended to talk about the subject with the reporter and at one point terminated the interview. The judge also said he believed Ahenakew's use of the Jews as an example in a larger, wider-ranging speech wasn't premeditated. ...

Ahenakew's defence lawyer, Doug Christie, said the Crown wasted time and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a case that never should have gone to trial in the first place. 'It's better that we tolerate diverse and sometimes bad opinions than we take them to court and prosecute them,' he said. 'People make mistakes when they speak.' Christie had argued that Ahenakew got sucked into an argument with the reporter and did not intend for his spontaneous comments to be published."

All along Doug Christie argued, at the original trial, at the appeal and at this new trial, that Sec. 319 should never have been invoked. It refers to wilfully promoting hate, "except in private conversation." And that's what occurred. Chief Ahenekew was ambushed after his speech by a hostile reporter. His interview was a private converarion. If anybody should have been charged with "promoting" hatred, if should have been the reporter who blasted the Chief's private thoughts out to an entire nation.

In an exclusive interview with CAFE, Doug Christie, who is the counsel for the Canadian Free Speeh League, said that the judge had ruled narrowly on "intent" and had found that Chief Ahenakew, who even tried to walk away from the reporter, had no intention of "promoting" hatred. "The newspaperman's repeating the Chief's words is what caused the communication.," Mr. Christie said. Previously, it had been "a spontaneoous conversation with a reporter," the champion free speech advocate pointed out.

Responding the minority lobby demands for blood, the Saskatchewan government has dragged the impoverished native leader through two trials and an appeal, vehement press vilification,a nd, of course, the humiliation of being stripped of his Order of Canada medal.

Ironically, the outspoken chief has frequently assailed White Canadians in hostile terms. However, as long as he attacked Whites, he was indulged and rewarded, even with an Order of Canada medal. The minute he turned his ire on a privileged minority, all hell broke loose and the law, vilification and shunning greeted yesterday's Native Hero.

 

 

Paul Fromm

Director

CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION

 

SASKATOON A judge acquitted David Ahenakew on Monday of wilfully promoting hatred against Jews, but not before chiding the former aboriginal leader for his comments.

Provincial court Judge Wilfred Tucker said the remarks made six years ago were "revolting, disgusting and untrue."

But Tucker said he didn't believe Ahenakew had the intention of promoting hate when he made them.

The former head of the Assembly of First Nations was charged after a controversial speech and subsequent interview with a reporter more than six years ago. In the interview he called Jews a "disease" and appeared to justify the Holocaust.

It was the second trial for Ahenakew on the charge. He was found guilty the first time and fined $1,000. But the conviction was overturned on appeal and a new trial was ordered.

Ahenakew, now 75, hugged his daughter after the verdict and smiled as he left the courthouse.

"Thank God it's over," he said. "It's been awful."

He wouldn't discuss whether he's still sorry he made the comments. He said the long legal battle hasn't changed him.

"I'm still the same guy that was born, that served the world, that served the army, that served the people. I'm still that same guy. And I'm too damn old now to change anyways."

Ahenakew testified at his second trial that he doesn't hate Jews but still believes they caused the war.

"Everybody says I'm a Jew-hater," he told court. "I don't hate the Jews, but I hate what they do to people."

The controversial comments that first got him into trouble date back to December 2002, when he delivered a rambling and fiery speech during a health conference organized by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations in Saskatoon.

During the speech, Ahenakew blamed Jews for causing the Second World War.. A newspaper reporter later asked him to clarify his comments.

"How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?" Ahenakew responded. "The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe.

"That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God-damned world."

Ahenakew offered a tearful public apology days later. But amid public outrage, he lost his position as a senator with the Saskatchewan First Nations group.

Following his initial conviction, he was also stripped of his Order of Canada.

"The opinions distorted historical facts and general views expressed by the accused can only be viewed with revulsion and disgust by ordinary Canadians," said Tucker. "That anyone would characterize the murder of millions of innocent human beings as 'getting rid of a disease,' or 'trying to clean up the world' is incomprehensible to decent people."

But Tucker said he couldn't ascribe an ill motive to Ahenakew because he never intended to talk about the subject with the reporter and at one point terminated the interview. The judge also said he believed Ahenakew's use of the Jews as an example in a larger, wider-ranging speech wasn't premeditated.

The conference topic was about the federal government's proposal for aboriginals to sign medical consent forms. Ahenakew argued in his speech that "immigrants" who had "stolen" aboriginal land could not be trusted and that anyone who was not aboriginal was dishonest and unreliable.

"I believe that the accused knew the primary theme that he wished to set forth in his speech, but I do not believe that he knew the precise words or examples he would use," said Tucker.

Ahenakew's defence lawyer, Doug Christie, said the Crown wasted time and hundreds of thousands of dollars on a case that never should have gone to trial in the first place.

"It's better that we tolerate diverse and sometimes bad opinions than we take them to court and prosecute them," he said. "People make mistakes when they speak."

Christie had argued that Ahenakew got sucked into an argument with the reporter and did not intend for his spontaneous comments to be published.

The judge addressed that assertion by saying the reporter fully did his job and did not pressure Ahenakew in any way.

"As is often the case, people like the accused, who are happy to have media attention when it suits them, are quick to attack the media and its members when the media attention does not suit them," said Tucker.

Crown prosecutor Sandeep Bains had argued at trial that Ahenakew knew what he was doing and clearly consented to the media interview.

The Crown will review the ruling and decide whether to appeal.

Representatives from Jewish groups said they were happy the judge denounced Ahenakew's comments.

"It's clear, the judge and Canadians understand what he said was horrible, disgusting and anti-Semitic, and he's lost the respect of Canadians because of that," said Wendy Lampert with the Canadian Jewish Congress.