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Racist web postings land white supremacist in jail
Janice Tibbetts, CanWest News Service


OTTAWA - For the first time in Canada, a white supremacist has been jailed for
ignoring a court order to stop spreading hate messages against Jews, blacks and
immigrants on the Internet. 

The Federal Court incarcerated Tomasz Winnicki of London, Ont., for nine months
for contempt of court for refusing to cease his "vile and unrelenting message
of hatred."

Winnicki, who is in his early 30s and immigrated to Canada with his parents
when he was a child, has described himself as London's "biggest hater."

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein sent Winnicki to jail for flouting a Federal
Court order last fall to stop his Internet postings while a complaint against
him wound its way through the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

The court ruling is considered unique because it is rare for people to be
jailed in the absence of a criminal conviction and nobody has been sentenced
for contempt of court for defying an order to stop posting hatred on the
Internet, said commission lawyer Monette Maillet.

"Hopefully, it will send a message to people that, firstly, they should not be
practising hate in Canada and secondly, if you are going to do it and the
courts tell you to stop, they mean it," said Leo Adler, director of national
affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Toronto, a Jewish human rights
organization.

Adler estimated about two dozen people in Canada have been jailed for hate
crimes on the Internet, but they were all criminally convicted.

Police in London have never laid criminal charges against Winnicki, despite
pressure from Jewish groups.

Adler said websites promoting hate have increased significantly in the last few
years, with the most recent count at about 6,000.

Winnicki's lawyer, Dominic Lamb, argued in court there is no proof Winnicki
posted the messages, and that someone else posing as him could have done so.
Furthermore, even if Winnicki did post the messages, they could have been
edited, Lamb said.

"In my view, none of these arguments are sustainable," wrote von Finckenstein,
noting Winnicki had never previously raised the possibility of someone else
making the postings in his name.

In April, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled against Winnicki and fined
him $6,000 for his "vicious and dehumanizing" messages.

Winnicki "called for the forced expulsion of non-Caucasian people, he
threatened violent action against the targets of his hatred and
enthusiastically supported a ?racial holy war' in which all non-Caucasian
people will be destroyed. He made use of exceedingly gruesome photographic
imagery to draw in his readers and to communicate his messages of hate all the
more powerfully," said the human rights ruling.

The complaint against Winnicki was filed by Richard Warman, an Ottawa lawyer
who is pursuing about a dozen cases in his personal quest to stop Canadians
from posting hate on the Internet.

Winnicki's case ended up in the Federal Court because the human rights
commission asked a judge last year to issue an injunction ordering the
hate-monger to cease his activities until the tribunal made a ruling.

Von Finckenstein ruled Winnicki's postings after the injunction were every bit
as offensive as his earlier messages.

"They have the same vile content and the unrelenting message of hatred for Jews
and contempt for people of the black race and/or immigrants," the decision
said.

"They send a persistent vile message, which in essence suggests that there is a
Zionist conspiracy, that Jews dominate all levels of government, that those of
the Black race are lazy, AIDS-infected, criminals and welfare cheats, that all
non-white immigrants fall into the same category and that multiculturalism is a
policy conceived by Zionists to perpetuate non-white immigration."

The human rights commission's power over Canadian hate-mongering on the
Internet was first applied more than five years ago when it forced Holocaust
denier Ernst Zundel to shut down his website.

The commission has investigated about two dozen complaints of Internet hatred
in total, but the tribunal has rendered only five rulings, said Maillet.

Winnicki's lawyer could not be reached for comment Thursday.

 CanWest News Service 2006


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