Jewish community encouraged by terms of plea deal in case stemming from May 2021 hate incident
Defendant was arrested while driving around Jewish neighbourhood with knives and uttering threats to Jewish residents
MONTREAL, QC – April 19, 2023 – Today, the second of two defendants initially charged with uttering threats, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and wilful promotion of hatred following an antisemitic incident in May 2021, appeared in court for sentencing. The defendant received, as the result of a plea deal, a conditional discharge following one year of probation with strict conditions protecting the Jewish community in exchange for entering a guilty plea on the lesser charge of uttering threats. Judge Pierre Dupras signed off on the parties' joint submission while making it clear that he found the facts leading to the charges abhorrent and highlighting the seriousness of the defendant’s actions.
“Though we were disappointed by the reduced charges, the probation terms agreed upon today reflect the severity of the individual’s actions and include stringent protections for our community,” said Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Quebec Vice President Eta Yudin, reflecting on the conditions of the probation, which include 80 hours of community service and restrictions on the defendant’s interactions with the victim or any member of the Jewish community, both on social media and in person for one year.
Upon learning of the proposed plea deal on February 20 – when the defendant pled guilty to a sole charge of uttering threats – the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) and Federation CJA expressed concern that the reduced charges eliminated the possibility for the court to evaluate the defendant's actions through the lens of hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code.
“Today, Judge Dupras made clear that the court recognized the severity of the defendant’s actions and that those who seek to foment or act on hate and antisemitism must face serious consequences. Though a plea deal led to the hate charge being dropped, the hateful intent behind the defendant’s actions certainly was not forgotten.” said Yudin.
“Perpetrators of hate must know that promoting antisemitism or any form of hatred will never be ok,” said Federation CJA President and CEO Yair Szlak. “Today, the justice system sent a clear message that there are real consequences to hate. Both of the accused have now been held accountable for their despicable actions.”
Today’s sentencing marks the end of the legal proceedings against the two individuals accused of threatening Jewish community members in a Montreal neighbourhood during the 2021 eleven-day war in Israel. On the evening of May 17, 2021, the two defendants filmed themselves driving through Jewish neighbourhoods loudly shouting antisemitic slurs and threats to passersby. In one of their videos, posted on social media, they explained they were going to Côte-St-Luc because “that’s where all the Jews are.” Federation CJA security coordinated with police who arrived rapidly on the scene, finding both in possession of knives and arresting them for uttering threats. The Montreal Police Service’s hate crime unit was tasked with investigating the incident, which ultimately resulted in the two individuals being charged with uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose. After evaluation by authorities, an additional charge of wilful promotion of hatred (section 319 (2) of the Criminal Code) was levied against the second defendant.
The first defendant had his day in court in December 2022, where he similarly agreed to a Peace Bond with strict conditions to protect the Jewish community both in person and online.
- Press release: Jewish Community Troubled Over Plea Deal in Case Stemming from May 2021 Threats
- Press release: Clear Conditions to Protect Jewish Community Imposed Against an Individual Behind May 2021 Threats
- Statistics Canada police-reported hate crime data for 2021 revealed, once again, Jewish Canadians remain the most targeted religious minority for hate crime and second overall.
- There are ten times more hate crimes against Jews reported than any other religious group across the country.
- In Canada, according to Statistics Canada, on average, more than one hate incident targeted Canada’s Jewish community every single day in 2021, which is more than nine per week or 40 per month.
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
About Federation CJA
For over one hundred years, Federation CJA has been at the heart of the organized Jewish community in Montreal. In partnership with a vast network of agencies and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally, Federation CJA builds and sustains this community by providing leadership and by supporting the delivery of services and programs to care for the vulnerable and those in need, to ensure a bright Jewish future, to represent communal interests, and to positively affect issues in the wider society.
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