Mr. James Keegstra was a high school teacher in Eckville, Alberta, from the early 1970's until his dismissal in 1982. In 1984, Mr. Keegstra was charged under s. 319(2) (then 281.2(2)) of the Criminal Code with unlawfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group by communicating anti-Semitic statements to his students. He was convicted by a jury in a trial before McKenzie J. of the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. Mr. Keegstra's teachings attributed various evil qualities to Jews. He thus described Jews to his pupils as ''treacherous'', ''subversive'', ''sadistic'', ''money-loving'', ''power hungry'' and ''child killers''. He taught his classes that Jewish people seek to destroy Christianity and are responsible for depressions, anarchy, chaos, wars and revolution. According to Mr. Keegstra, Jews ''created the Holocaust to gain sympathy'' and, in contrast to the open and honest Christians, were said to be deceptive, secretive and inherently evil. Mr. Keegstra expected his students to reproduce his teachings in class and on exams. If they failed to do so, their marks suffered. Prior to his trial, Mr. Keegstra applied to the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta for an order quashing the charge on a number of grounds, the primary one being that s. 319(2) of the Criminal Code unjustifiably infringed his freedom of expression as guaranteed by s. 2(b) of the Charter. Among the other grounds of appeal was the allegation that the defence of truth found in s. 319(3)(a) of the Code violates the Charter's presumption of innocence. The application was dismissed by Quigley J., and Mr. Keegstra was thereafter tried and convicted. He then appealed his conviction to the Alberta Court of Appeal, raising the same Charter issues. The Court of Appeal unanimously accepted his argument, and it is from this judgment that the Crown appeals. The Attorneys-General of Canada, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and New Brunswick, the Canadian Jewish Congress, Interamicus, the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith, Canada, and the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (L.E.A.F.) have intervened in this appeal in support of the Crown. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has intervened in support of striking down the impugned legislation.
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