section 319(3)

INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF DESCRIPTION

This section states exceptions to being convicted of an offense related to hate propaganda, including truth, good faith religious opinions, public interest discussions, and intention to remove hate-inducing content.

SECTION WORDING

319(3) No person shall be convicted of an offence under subsection (2) (a) if he establishes that the statements communicated were true; (b) if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text; (c) if the statements were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds he believed them to be true; or (d) if, in good faith, he intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters producing or tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada.

EXPLANATION

Section 319(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides for defences against the offence of hate speech. This offence is defined under subsection 319(2) as publicly inciting hatred against any identifiable group, which may be distinguished by race, religion, ethnic origin, or sexual orientation. Section 319(3) sets out four circumstances where a person may not be convicted of such an offence, even if they have made statements that fall under the definition of hate speech. Firstly, a person is not guilty of hate speech if they can prove that the statements communicated were true. This defence is aimed at protecting legitimate expression of factual information, such as reporting on hate crimes or expressing opinions on the actions of a particular group. Secondly, a person may also be protected if they express or attempt to establish an opinion on a religious subject or belief based on a religious text, as long as this is done in good faith. This defence acknowledges the importance of religious freedoms and protects individuals who engage in religious debate, even if their opinions may be perceived as offensive or hateful by some. Thirdly, statements that are relevant to any subject of public interest, and which are believed to be true on reasonable grounds, may also be protected. This defence recognizes that expressions of opinion on controversial social or political issues are important for public debate and should be protected as long as they are made in good faith and have a legitimate public purpose. Finally, a person may also be protected if they made the statements with the intention of pointing out matters that produce or tend to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group, in order to remove them. This defence recognizes that it may be necessary to discuss and criticize hateful or discriminatory attitudes in order to combat them. Overall, Section 319(3) balances the important values of freedom of expression and protection from hate speech, by allowing for important exceptions to the offence of inciting hatred. By allowing for certain forms of expression, the law recognizes the importance of open and honest debate on controversial issues, while also protecting groups from harmful and discriminatory speech.

COMMENTARY

Section 319(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada presents a number of exceptions to the offence of spreading hate propaganda. These exceptions are designed to balance the need to protect vulnerable groups from hatred and discrimination, with the importance of freedom of expression. One of the most striking features of this section is the defence of truth. If a person can establish that the statements they communicated were true, they cannot be convicted of the offence. This defence recognizes that there may be situations where it is important to communicate information about a group, even if that information is negative or critical. This defence ensures that individuals who communicate truthful information, even if that information is offensive to some, will not be punished. The second defence exempts expressions of religious opinion from prosecution, provided it was communicated in good faith. This recognizes the importance of religious freedom in Canada, and ensures that individuals are not punished for expressing their sincerely held beliefs. The third defence is the most complex, as it requires the defendant to demonstrate that the statements were relevant to a subject of public interest, and that they believed them to be true on reasonable grounds. This defence is aimed at protecting free speech when it is in the public interest, such as when discussing controversial political issues. However, this defence leaves the determination of what constitutes a subject of public interest" to the courts, which could lead to inconsistent interpretations. Finally, the fourth defence is designed to protect individuals who communicate hateful statements for the purpose of removing them. This is an important exception, as it allows individuals to point out and criticize hateful statements without being punished for doing so. Overall, section 319(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada is an important element of Canada's hate speech laws. It balances the protection of vulnerable groups from hate propaganda and discrimination with the need to protect the fundamental right of freedom of expression. This section recognizes that there may be situations where free speech must be protected, and provides a number of defences to ensure that people can communicate their views without fear of prosecution, provided that their actions meet specific criteria.

STRATEGY

Section 319(3) of the Criminal Code of Canada provides several defences against charges of hate speech or hate propaganda. These defences allow individuals to express opinions without fear of prosecution, as long as they can demonstrate that their statements were true, made in good faith, or relevant to public interest. When dealing with this section of the Criminal Code, there are several strategic considerations that must be taken into account. Firstly, it is essential to understand the nature of hate speech and propaganda, as well as the legal and social consequences of violating these laws. This requires careful study of both the statutory provisions and the relevant case law, as well as an awareness of the political and social contexts in which these laws are enforced. Secondly, it is important to determine whether the speech in question qualifies as hate speech or propaganda under the law. This requires an objective analysis of the content, context, and intent of the speech, as well as an assessment of its potential harm to the targeted group. In some cases, it may be necessary to consult with legal counsel or other experts to make this determination. Once it has been determined that the speech qualifies as hate speech or propaganda, the next strategic consideration is whether any of the defences under Section 319(3) apply. If so, it may be possible to mount a successful defence against the charges. This requires careful preparation and presentation of evidence to support the chosen defence, as well as a persuasive argument to persuade the court of its applicability. Some of the strategies that could be employed when dealing with Section 319(3) include: 1. Pre-emptive measures - One strategy is to avoid making statements that could be deemed hate speech or propaganda in the first place. This requires careful consideration of the potential impact of one's words, as well as an understanding of the legal and social consequences of violating these laws. 2. Evidence gathering - If a defence under Section 319(3) is available, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible to support the chosen defence. This may involve consulting with experts, conducting research, and compiling relevant documentation to present to the court. 3. Strategic communication - It is essential to communicate clearly and effectively with the court throughout the legal process. This means presenting arguments in a way that is understandable and persuasive, and avoiding inflammatory or offensive language that could undermine the defence. 4. Public relations - The outcome of a hate speech or propaganda case can have significant social and political implications. It is therefore important to engage in ongoing public relations efforts to build support and understanding for the defence, as well as to counter any negative media coverage that may arise. Overall, dealing with Section 319(3) of the Criminal Code requires careful consideration of the legal and social context, as well as a strategic approach that takes into account the available defences and the potential impact of the speech or propaganda in question. By following these strategic considerations and employing effective strategies, individuals and organizations can effectively navigate this complex legal landscape and defend their rights to free expression.