Canadian court hands down rare Internet hate crime conviction

A Canadian court handed down a rare conviction to a white supremacist for posting hate material on the Internet, police here said Tuesday.

A judge ruled that Keith Francis William (Bill) Noble, 31, did “willfully promote hatred against identifiable groups, namely Jews, Blacks, homosexual or gay persons, non-whites and persons of mixed race or ethnic origin,” said a police statement.

Noble was sentenced to four months in jail, plus restrictions on his use of computers for three years, said the police statement. He was charged after police raided his former home in the rural community of Fort St. John.

Monday’s conviction by the British Columbia Supreme Court in western Canada, following a two-week trial last fall, is unusual, Sergeant Sean McGowan told AFP. “The conviction rate for Internet-related crimes is very low.”

“This is the second conviction of an individual for hate propaganda in British Columbia, and there have been only four or five cases in all of Canada where an individual has been prosecuted and convicted for hate over the Internet,” said McGowan.

McGowan said police were tipped off about Noble’s posting by the Friends of the Simon Wiesenthal Center For Holocaust Studies, an international human rights organisation.

Nobel “posted quite a bit on a lot of white supremacist websites,” said McGwan. “The content of the website and the content of what he posted were offensive enough to meet a high standard.”

Noble “was known to the police, the authorities, and to our organisation,” said David Eisenstadt, a spokesman for the Wiesenthal organisation.

“We’re pleased this (conviction) has happened, not because we condone censorship but because there’s a lot of abuse on the Internet,” Eisenstadt told AFP. “There are no boundaries on the Internet.”

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 6, 2008.
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