Arthur Topham was first charged in 2012, after he had called for Jews to be forcibly sterilized, claimed that Canada is “controlled by the Zionist Jew lobby,” and described Jewish places of worship as “synagogues of Satan.” He was convicted by a jury in November of 2015.
Topham then launched a failed constitutional challenge to Canada’s hate speech laws, which delayed his sentencing until March of 2017. Though facing a maximum penalty of two years in prison, he received a mere six-month curfew and ban on posting online. B’nai Brith condemned this development at the time as a “mere slap on the wrist,” warning that it failed to establish a deterrent against future offences.
Topham was also ordered not to post “any information about persons of Jewish religion or ethnic origin” to the internet for a period of two years. He proceeded to violate this term of his probation by posting antisemitic material, leading to further charges earlier this year.
“As we had sadly predicted, the first sentence in this case was far too lenient, and made further victimization of the Jewish community more likely,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “We hope and believe that, this time, Mr. Topham will be truly held accountable for his crimes, and that our judicial system will send a message that there is a price to pay for repeatedly promoting hatred.”
Both Topham’s original conviction and his re-arrest for breach of probation were made possible through the work of Harry Abrams, a long-time B’nai Brith volunteer based in British Columbia.
A date for Topham’s sentencing on the breach of probation charge will be set by the court on Oct. 27.