The Crown and the accused stated their closing arguments Monday afternoon in the trial of Travis Patron, the founder and former leader of the defunct Canadian Nationalist Party.
The Redvers man is on trial in front of a jury at Estevan Court of King’s Bench for willful promotion of hate towards an identifiable group, according to Section 319 of the Criminal Code of Canada.
The charge was a result of an allegedly antisemitic video posted online by Patron, called “Beware the Parasitic Tribe.”
Crown Prosecutor Ryan Snyder made his closing argument to the judge, D.N. Robertson.
He argued that "words matter," and that the trial was specifically about those words, not private conversations or actions.
Instead, he drew focus to the video's public nature, with it online from June 4, 2019, to January 2021.
During the argument, the prosecution broke down the law behind Section 319, which makes it an offense to communicate, except in private conversation, statements that wilfully promote hatred against an “identifiable group” and why it applied to the defendant.
The prosecution stated that putting it publicly online was an attempt to communicate and not a private conversation, especially as the leader of a federal party.
As well, the prosecution said the statement promoted hatred by advocating for the expulsion of a people, who while not named as Jews, Snyder remarked that Patron's video had "Pretty much every antisemitic trope in the history of antisemitic tropes.”
The prosecution pointed to a quote from Patron's video, which read "What we need to do is remove these people, once and for all from our country.”
Then the jury was asked, "If it's not Jews, who're we talking about?"
Patron, who is representing himself, gave his closing statement after the Crown’s.
He said there wasn’t proof he was talking about Jews during the video.
He also claimed that the Canadian government is suppressing its citizens who are looking to advocate for nationalism, and that section 319 had been used to silence freedom of expression and advocacy for Canadians.
Patron alleged that during his custody he was given no cause for being in custody, despite asking multiple times.
He also said he was beaten by guards, and that he could still feel the pain from the attack.
The defendant's argument ended by telling the jury that since reasonable doubt remained, he must be acquitted.
The jury is set to return to the courtroom on Wednesday, when the final verdict is set to be unveiled.