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Mississauga man charged with hate crime over alleged online comments

NEWS STAFF AND THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Tuesday, Jul 25th, 2017

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This story has been edited due to a publication ban.

A Mississauga man has been charged with a hate crime after police allege he made a number of statements against the Muslim community online.

Police would not say what the alleged comments were, only that they were made through social media over five months.

Kevin Johnston, 45, was arrested on Monday.

He was charged with willful promotion of hatred, specifically “communicating statements other than in private conversation, willfully promote hatred against an identifiable group”, in this case, Muslims.

Johnston runs the website Freedom Report, but police would not say whether the charges are linked to that publication.

CityNews spoke to Johnston outside a Brampton court house after he appeared before a judge on Monday.

“I am the first Canadian in the history of Canada to be arrested under motion M103″ he said, citing the the motion put forth in parliament to condemn Islamophobia in Canada and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination.

“It means the average Canadian citizen is going to be arrested at their homes like I was today, brought to the courthouse here and be made to stand trial for having opinions that are different than the left wing…M103 is the end of Canada.” he said.

However, M103 is not a law nor can citizens be charged based on it’s recommendations. Johnston was arrested under existing hate crime laws — section 319(2) of the criminal code — which deals specifically with the willful promotion of hatred.

He was released on his own undertaking, under a number of conditions including not being allowed within 100 meters of any mosque of Muslim community centre in Ontario.

He has also been ordered not to communicate with a Muslim lawyer and two politicians, whose names are all covered under a publication ban. He was further ordered not to posses firearms and not to reveal any details of his case to anyone outside of his own legal counsel.

Ontario’s attorney general, who gave consent for the charge to be laid, would not comment on the case. But he says the government takes hate crimes seriously.

Johnston’s next court date is scheduled for September.

With files from The Canadian Press

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