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Hateful comments in Canada could mean needing criminal defense

Some people might not realize that some comments they leave on social media sites could be construed as being hateful. Even if they aren't using their own names, there are ways of ascertaining identity and, depending upon the comments posted, they may need to find themselves a criminal defense lawyer. If the hateful comments target a specific group, they could be seen as being criminal.

In 1990, an Alberta school teacher was taken to task for teaching his anti-Semitic views to his pupils. He claimed he could do so under Canada's Charter of Rights. However, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld his criminal conviction stating that there is a breach in freedom of speech when it is targeted against a group. Had the internet been available to the teacher and had he written the same message online, the outcome likely would have been the same.

One particular Canadian's blog was rife with alleged conspiracy theories and hate speech against the Jews. He was found guilty of hatred against an identifiable group which goes against Canada's criminal code. That case shows bloggers in all of Canada can be held accountable for making hateful comments online. 

The law around online actions can be vague and murky to most citizens in Canada and, indeed, the world. For those who find themselves in hot water over making comments online, contacting a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense might be a wise idea. Going it alone in relatively uncharted waters might be a risky prospect. A lawyer will know what steps to take in such circumstances.

Source: findlaw.ca, "Could you be held legally responsible for hateful online comments in Canada?", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Oct. 27, 2017

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