James Sears, 57, the editor of the free publication Your Ward News, and its publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, 79, appealed against their 2019 convictions for wilfully promoting hatred against Jews and women.
Speaking at his appeal, Mr Sears argued that his lawyer, Dean Embry, was incompetent because he had failed to call witnesses to defend his Holocaust beliefs, for “fear of appearing antisemitic or of angering the judge.”
At his trial, Mr Sears stated that he did not believe gas chambers were used in the killing of six million Jews and claimed he had a “right to file a truth defence on historical facts.”
At the January 2019 trial, Judge Richard Blouin, now retired, convicted both men of two counts of promoting hatred and later sentenced Mr Sears to one year in jail and Mr St. Germaine to one year’s house arrest. He said that he would have given Mr Sears a harsher sentence if the law permitted.
At the appeal, Ontario Superior Court Justice Peter Cavanagh rejected arguments that the trial judge had made numerous errors or shown bias or that Mr Sears’ lawyer had been incompetent.
Your Ward News was distributed to more than 300,000 homes and businesses in the Toronto area for free over three years, and was available online, and, according to reports, promoted Holocaust denial and antisemitic tropes about Jews drinking the blood of Christian children, as well as misogynistic tropes.
Jewish groups have welcomed the decision.