Special Report: Portrait of Hate
The Peace Arch News (Surrey, B.C.) Saturday June 8, 1996
Dennis Friesen never flinched when Judge Howard Thomas convicted him of
indecent exposure and assaulting a native man back in May 1994.
He showed no emotion when the Surrey Court Provincial Judge called his
testimony unbelievable on Tuesday and sided with Crown Council witnesses who
painted him as a racist skinhead bent on teasing and taunting those whose
skin contrasts with his own white flesh.
As Friesen told his story, his 15-month old son could be heard giggling
outside in the court’s corridor. His fiance waited outside the court, not
permitted to listen to proceedings.
When the former Surrey resident finally entered the witness box in a
trial plagued by countless lengthy delays, Friesen refuted all accusations
against him. He insisted he never waved his genitals at a woman and her
half-Jamaican woman on a south Surrey beach or kicked Semiamoo First Nations
band member Nahanie Harris in the groin during a fight near the reserve.
The judge didn’t swallow Friesen’s explanations, saying his words didn’t
ring of the truth.
“I just disbelieve the evidence given by the accused” he told the court.
Crown prosecutor Laura Ford provoked angry debate from defense attorney
Dave Gable by delving in Friesen’s past, attempting to link his views about
non-whites to establish a motive for taunting and assaulting natives on a
Semiahmoo beach….An infuriated Gable leaped from the chair arguing Ford’s
line of questioning was irrelevant.
“The whole issue is whether or not he assaulted Nahanie,” he said,
adding that being a member of a hate group is not neccessarily a crime.
But the judge accepted the prosecutor’s argument that Friesen’s views
about non-whites illustrate his frame of mind in the melee with the natives.
Under further grilling from prosecution, Friesen defended himself saying he
no longer associates with the individuals who participated in the beach
brawl with South Surrey natives. And he outright denied being a white
” I was not a white supremacist. We take pride in our heritage and
culture but I’m not a white supremacist.”
Ironically, as Friesen sat in court, the top of a Swastika tattoo peeked
over the collar of his pressed, white dress shirt. His long sleeves and
brush cut masked various other tattoos including the words time-bomb inked
on his scalp.
The now convicted Friesen is no stranger to Alan Dutton, the Executive
Director of the Surrey-based Canadian Anti-Racism and Education Research
Society. Dutton, who has been tracking Friesen’s movements for some time,
said he was the security man for the local racist group Odin’s Law. (YENTA
Note: The band’s manager was/is Tony McAleer, founder of the racist
telephone-line Canadian Liberty Net) The band, named after a mythical
Scandinavian Supreme God and creator, was founded out of anger that
non-white immigrants were taking over Surrey.
According to Dutton, Friesen also shared a post office box as of six
months ago with a racist group known as the Hammerskins… “As far as I’m
concerned he was involved in a hate crime. All the evidence pointed to the
fact that this was a racially motivated crime.”
Still Dutton gave Friesen the benefit of the doubt when learning he had
moved to Victoria and claims to have disassociated himself from the people
he used to hang with.
” If Dennis is serious about leaving the movement, then he should
contact us,” he said, noting the society can help him straighten his life out.
Friesen’s sentence has not yet been set.
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