TORONTO — The editor of a Toronto-based publication convicted of hate-mongering could get another crack at trying to defend himself in January.
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Instead of sentencing James Sears on Monday, the judge said he would give him a chance to show why his trial should be reopened or declared a mistrial.
Sears, who fired his lawyer months ago for allegedly throwing the case, complains he wasn’t allowed to call a defence.
The judge says Sears, who worked as an editor for Your Ward News, should have an opportunity to show exceptional circumstances for staving off sentencing. He says Sears must provide a list of his proposed witnesses and what they would say.
Sears, 55, and LeRoy St. Germaine, 74, were each found guilty in January of two hate-promotion counts for the contents of 22 issues of Your Ward News. Court heard the publication had a circulation of 300,000 in the Toronto area and beyond, as well as an online presence.
Among other things, the publication depicted in words and imagery vile stereotypes of Jews, denied the Holocaust, claimed women were inferior and that they bring rape on themselves.
The Crown called for the maximum six-month jail term for each offence to be served consecutively — one year behind bars — plus three years probation, during which Sears would be prohibited from publishing any kind of written material. The defence argued a four-month conditional sentence would be appropriate.
Since firing his lawyer — Dean Embry has denied any wrongdoing — Sears said he has spent recent months studying case law and the Criminal Code. Boasting of a 170 IQ and “impeccable” communication skills, Sears said he had prepared “truly dynamite” filings.
Prosecutor Robin Flumerfelt declined to discuss the case.
Sears, a married father who was found guilty of sexual assault in the 1990s and lost his medical licence over sexual impropriety with female patients, said he saw no need to hire a new lawyer.
“Clearly, an intelligent layman can do a much better job of arguing a criminal case than can a trained lawyer with no emotional investment in the case,” he said. “The latter may even throw the case if he has disdain for his client.”
CORRECTION: An earlier headline on this story said Sears would not be sentenced until 2020. That is not necessarily the case.