Preliminary hearing begins for former university lecturer facing charge of promoting hatred
By Heather Polischuk, Leader-Post
October 20, 2009
REGINA — The lawyer for former university lecturer, Terrence Cecil Tremaine, referenced author George Orwell’s famed 1984 while railing against Canada’s hate laws.
Monday marked the start of Tremaine’s preliminary hearing at Regina Provincial Court on a charge of promoting hatred.
A preliminary hearing is held to determine whether the Crown has sufficient evidence to proceed to trial. Should the matter go to trial, Tremaine wishes to be tried by Court of Queen’s Bench judge and jury.
Details from the preliminary hearing can’t be reported because of a publication ban.
Outside of court, defence lawyer Doug Christie criticized anti-hate legislation when he spoke to media.
“I think (the laws are) a massive waste of police resources,” he said. “I think that they’re kind of like preventing crime by stopping people from thinking, because if you can stop people from talking, you should be able to stop them from thinking as well. As soon as we can find out what you’re thinking, we’ll be able to regulate that too. If anyone’s read 1984, you can see where that leads, and this is kind of a precursor of things to come.”
Christie called the sections “a vehicle for police to waste public money chasing political enemies.”
“Ultimately, I don’t think the state should be deciding what people say,” he said. “That should be, in a free and democratic society, open to people to decide for themselves.”
Christie said he worried Canada is becoming a police state under the pretense of combatting terrorism and that it should be up to individuals to decide what to think about statements made.
The Victoria-based lawyer previously defended former First Nations leader David Ahenakew on his hate crime charge, which was inevitably thrown out.
Crown prosecutor John Stoesser declined comment outside of court.
The hearing continues today before Judge Bruce Henning.