…hearings in the current case [will conclude next week], after several days of testimony and argument. James Sears, the editor-in-chief of YWN, and LeRoy St. Germaine, its publisher, are facing charges of uttering death threats in connection with material they contributed to the paper.
The charges originate in a complaint by Lisa and Warren Kinsella, the husband and wife team of anti-racism activists who have long sought to have YWN’s mailing privileges revoked, and who also urged prosecutors to lay charges of promoting hatred.
YWN has often targeted the Kinsellas in the paper, at one point running a cartoon of Warren Kinsella drinking blood and another with his head pasted on the body of a snake.
The current case alleges that Sears uttered a death threat in YWN’s Summer 2017 edition.
The alleged threat came at the end of a long article about a children’s aid society (CAS) investigation into Sears and his family, in which he stated that he believed that whoever lodged the complaint with CAS was likely motivated by an article written by Lisa Kinsella.
“If I told my friends, thousands of people on my mailing list, and hundreds of thousands of readers of Your Ward News about it, while a CAS investigation was active and our son could still have been kidnapped, there was the chance that some hothead who cares deeply about me and my family, would lose it and do something illegal, like bludgeon the Kinsellas to death,” Sears wrote.
The charges also allege that in another article, St. Germaine put a “bounty” on Kinsella’s head.
Testifying before Ontario Court Judge Dan Moore, Kinsella said, “We regarded the article as a call to action, that we should be bludgeoned to death.”
Lisa Kinsella testified that she felt that St. Germaine’s article constituted a threat to “me, my husband, our six children and my grandchild.”
“We were shining a light on the threat,” Warren Kinsella replied. “For more than 30 years of my life, my belief has been that it is better to shine a light on the cockroaches, so that they scatter. I do not believe in sticking your head in the sand is effective against people like your client.”
According to Bernie Farber, a long-time anti-racist activist and friend of the Kinsellas, “It’s a very complex case. You have to prove the intent and the power of words.”