Racism as an aggravating factor

Being racist is not a crime. But those who are should be punished more severely, argues the prosecution, demanding 90 days in jail for Samuel Huot, a young “troll” on the Internet who published hate speech against Muslims, less than 12 hours after killing at the Great Mosque.
On the night of the 29th to the 30th of January, Huot was returning from a rave party. According to him, he was “completely ripped off” after using chemical drugs.

He opens his computer and sees the Facebook status of a friend, devastated by the killing that has just occurred at the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec.

Huot begins to write comments that he still calls black humor. “Whoever crushes all your caliss of veil”, “Man, woman and children! Criss me his “emptying” and other violent statements.

Samuel Huot, a 21-year-old arborist, pleaded guilty to fomenting hatred against Muslims.

During the representations on the sentence Friday, the young man said not to be proud of his words. He insisted that because of a depressed mood and especially drug abuse, he was not himself at the time he was writing. “I was ripped off on a mean time!” Said the slender young man, who says he stopped using hard drugs.

Questioned by Crown Attorney Jean-Simon Larouche, Samuel Huot admitted to being “a little racist” and rather anti-immigration. “I’m not in favor of welcoming so many of us here,” said the accused.

Impulsive, the young man blushes with anger when the prosecutor asks him if he knows what empathy is. Samuel Huot gives the definition of the word and claims to be someone rather empathetic.

The Criminal Code defines as an “aggravating factor” the fact that an offense is “motivated by prejudice or hatred based on factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, language, color, religion” .

Mr. Jean-Simon Larouche did not hesitate to invoke this provision before Judge Mario Tremblay of the Court of Quebec. “The fact that the comments are contemporaneous with the killing demonstrates Mr. Huot’s insensitivity,” says Larouche.

In 2017, there were twice as many complaints of hate crimes against Muslims in the judicial district of Quebec, invoked the Crown. “Hateful comments must give way to tolerance in the social context in which we are,” said Mr. Larouche, “and that also goes through the courts.”

Application for absolution

Samuel Huot’s lawyer, Mathieu Giroux, is asking for a conditional discharge from his client for a donation of $ 500. “We have here a young man of 19-20 [at the time of the offense] who made a mistake, pleads Me Giroux. Maybe he should review his social conscience, but being racist is not a crime. ”

Probation officers who met Samuel Huot found no evidence of violence or hatred and rated the risk of reoffending as low.

Samuel Huot will know his sentence on July 6th.

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