While I appreciate the validity of some of the mitigating factors in this case, I don't believe justice was served in deciding St. Germaine should avoid jail time altogether. His lack of respect for Your Ward News' victims is striking. When offered the option of a sentencing circle, he declined because he did not want to apologize. Outside of court today, when asked what he would say to his victims, he stated they should "suck it up and get over it."
Leroy St. Germaine has just walked out of the College Park Courthouse. Germaine tells @CityNews he doesn’t believe any of the articles posted on Your Ward News included hate speech. He also plans to appeal his conviction. pic.twitter.com/oFnw9IS9Ft— Adrian Ghobrial (@CityAdrian) August 29, 2019
Then, of course, likening Sears to Christ and saying the paper will be back blows any assertion of St. Germaine's regret or desire to distance himself from Sears out of the water:
And while St. Germaine evidently didn't write any of the hateful material that's in violation of S319(2) of the criminal code, as publisher, he had the final say in whether to print those words and images. I believe that responsibility should carry more weight in Justice Blouin's courtroom.
As St. Germaine begins organizing his appeal, Sears' is already underway and he is out on a mere $500 bail. His bail conditions include taking Your Ward News offline, refraining from contacting any of his victims, and, the most challenging for Sears, not making any public statements. His new lawyer, criminal defence attorney Ian McCuaig, will have quite the challenge in convincing the court that Sears' conviction and sentence was arbitrary, politically motivated, and "too harsh."
EDIT 1: Ian McCuaig acted as St. Germaine's attorney for the initial trial and sentencing. Obviously Sears liked the work he did enough to retain him for the appeal. It is unknown whether McCuaig will continue to act for St. Germaine as well. A preliminary investigation did not show McCuaig having any obvious racist or far right sympathies. However, more digging will be done to confirm.
At the time of writing, it is unknown whether Sears and St. Germaine's appeals will be heard together or when the appeals will begin. However, it is clear that for their victims, closure is still months away.
You can read the full background of this sentencing circus below:
- January 24th 2019 (conviction)
- April 26th 2019 (sentencing hearing begins)
- May 31st 2019 (Sears fires lawyer)
- July 2019 (Delays, delays, delays)
- August 3rd 2019 (Sears needs yet more time)
- August 22nd 2019 (Sears sentenced to 1 year)