James Sears editor in chief of Your Ward News, faces sentencing Monday. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press)

UPDATE: Hate trial for Toronto editor could be re-opened as judge delays sentencing

The prosecution wants to see James Sears jailed for 12 months

A convicted hatemonger who maintains his defence lawyer deliberately threw his case will get a rare chance to show why his trial should be reopened, a judge ruled on Monday.

Instead of sentencing James Sears for promoting hatred against women and Jews, Ontario court Judge Richard Blouin said he would allow the editor of Your Ward News to show he didn’t get the opportunity to defend himself properly.

“My overarching obligation is to ensure a fair trial,” Blouin told court. “I’m allowing Mr. Sears an opportunity to satisfy me that this is a exceptional case.”

Sears, who was convicted in January and made sentencing submissions in April, put forward several arguments for either reopening his trial or declaring a mistrial. Blouin, however, focused on his argument that Sears’ lawyer, Dean Embry, provided ineffective counsel.

Among other things, Sears, 55, maintained Embry refused to call any defence witnesses. He fired Embry, who denies any wrongdoing, in May.

While the Crown argued Sears’ new arguments were without merit, Blouin said he felt he had no choice even though tactical decisions the defence makes at trial cannot be second-guessed.

“You’ve made the argument that Mr. Embry basically threw the case,” Blouin said to Sears. “That’s an issue I’m going to have to decide.”

The judge gave Sears two weeks to provide a list of proposed witnesses, their credentials, and what they would testify to. He said he would then decide whether to proceed with sentencing, reopen the trial to hear those witnesses, or declare a mistrial.

Sears waived solicitor-client privilege to allow Embry to discuss the case.

Sears and co-accused LeRoy St. Germaine, 77, were convicted of promoting hatred against women and Jews for content in Your Ward News. The free Toronto-based publication was distributed to more than 300,000 homes and businesses as well as having an online presence. The publication consistently portrayed women and Jews in beyond ugly terms.

The Crown had called for a total one-year jail term for Sears, who now returns to court on Aug. 1. The defence argued for a four-month conditional sentence.

Separately Monday, the prosecution urged Blouin, who is retiring from full-time work at the end of August, to jail St. Germaine for three months on each of the two counts for which he was convicted — to run consecutively.

“A custodial sentence is warranted in this case,” Crown lawyer Erica Whitford said. “He has admitted he does have final say over the contents of the publication.”

Whitford also urged two years probation, barring St. Germaine from publishing Your Ward News or any other material that disparages Jews or women. She also wanted him barred from contact with Sears.

The publication which became more vile over its three years, Whitford said, had a profound impact on recipients, robbing many of a sense of safety.

St. Germaine, who identifies as Metis, has a criminal record, including for break and enter, court heard.

Although he has expressed some regret for his role, Whitford said he did appear to have been less culpable than Sears, author of most of the Your Ward News content.

“He seems to have been led by Mr. Sears,” Whitford said.

St. Germaine’s defence lawyer, Ian McCuaig, called for a conditional sentence. He cited his client’s unstable family background for turning him into an angry man.

“It’s lashing out,” McCuaig told the court.

St. Germaine, who is single and has a Grade 8 education, deserves a break because of his background, McCuaig argued.

Meanwhile, Sears, a married father who was found guilty of sexual assault in the 1990s and lost his medical licence over sexual impropriety with female patients, said he saw no need to hire a new lawyer.

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

READ MORE: Ontario newspaper duo guilty of promoting hate against women and Jews

READ MORE: Crown seeks 1-year jail term against Toronto editor convicted of promoting hate

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Second earthquake in two days strikes near Agassiz

A 2.6-magnitude recorded Saturday morning

Province bringing 421 new affordable childcare spaces to Fraser Valley

Supporting early childhood educators and creating spaces go hand in hand, minister says

Rude awakening: 1.6-magnitude earthquake rouses residents from their sleep

The quake was detected 3 km east-northeast of Agassiz

COLUMN: Cities should enlist teenagers to clear sidewalks for absentee owners

Connecting shovelers with property owners could make cities more walkable after a snow storm

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Victoria-area wolf tranquilized after being seen running around neighbourhood

Officials say wolf unharmed during its ‘arrest’

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants head coach records 200th win with 3-2 victory in Kelowna

Michal Kvasnica and David Tendeck named stars of the game

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Most Read