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B’nai Brith Hails Rejection of Your Ward News Appeal

Your Ward News Editor-in-Chief James Sears (right) and publisher LeRoy St. Germaine (left) attend court on Nov. 28, 2018 (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

July 16, 2021

TORONTO — B’nai Brith Canada has learned that the editor-in-chief of a notorious antisemitic and misogynistic Toronto publication has lost his bid to appeal his conviction for promoting hate.

James Sears, otherwise known as “Dimitri the Lover,” was found guilty alongside Your Ward News publisher LeRoy St. Germaine of promoting hatred against Jews and women, contrary to s. 319(2) of the Criminal Code, back on Jan. 24, 2019. In August of that year, Sears was handed one year in jail, the maximum sentence for summary conviction of that offence.

In June 2020, Sears and St. Germaine lost an initial bid to appeal their convictions and sentences. Sears then sought leave to appeal in turn to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, which dismissed his application in a 49-paragraph decision issued Friday.

The decision also means that Sears will not receive bail pending an appeal.

Importantly, the Court of Appeal held that s. 718.2(a)(i) of the Criminal Code, which imposes tougher sentences for crimes motivated by hate, applies to offences such as s. 319(2) where promoting hate is an inherent component of the offence.

“The highest Court in Ontario has spoken today, and affirmed the need to take a strong stance against hate,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “No one can be allowed to undermine the fabric of society by systematically denigrating identifiable groups.

“We will continue to turn to law enforcement and the courts where appropriate in order to safeguard the human rights of our community.”

B’nai Brith has been active on the Your Ward News file for years, which, prior to the criminal proceedings, also included a ban on its distribution under the Canada Post Corporation Act, and its removal from the York University campus following a B’nai Brith complaint.