Public Incitement

The offence of public incitement of hatred is outlined at section 319(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of public incitement of hatred when they communicate statements in a public place that incite hatred against an identifiable group and that will likely lead to a breach of the peace.

Examples

Person A ties several nooses on the trees outside his home after a black family moves in across the street.

Person B, while performing during an outdoor music festival, makes several racist statements and gestures, causing audience members to rush at the stage and start fighting amongst themselves.

Cases

R. v. M.G., 2017 ONCJ 565

In R. v. M.G., the accused was charged with public incitement of hatred for spray painting hateful racial messages and white supremacist symbols on the external walls of six different places of worship.

R. v. Rehberg, 2010 NSPC 101

In R. v. Rehberg, the accused was charged with public incitement of hatred when he erected a five-foot-tall wooden cross on the front lawn of a home occupied by a bi-racial family and lit it on fire.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Not a Public Place

Where the person privately communicates statements that would incite hatred and are likely to cause a breach of the peace, they may not have completed the offence of public incitement of hatred.

No Identifiable Group

Where the person communicates statements that do not incite hatred against an identifiable group, they may not have completed the offence of public incitement of hatred.

Not Likely to Breach Peace

Where the hatred incited by the statements is not likely to lead to a breach of the peace, the person who made the statement may not have completed the offence of public incitement of hatred.

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