R. v. Krymowski, 2005 SCC 7

Her Majesty the Queen - Appellant v. Krystopher Krymowski, Ryan Douglas Marshall, Quinn Mason McFarlane, Michael Peter Schultz, J.J.V. and A.M.V. - Respondents

After participating in a demonstration in front of a motel housing Roma refugees seeking entry into Canada, the accused were charged under s. 319(2) of the Criminal Code with the wilful promotion of hatred against “an identifiable group, to wit Roma, by communicating statements, including the written statements: ‘Honk if you hate Gypsies’, ‘Canada is not a Trash Can’, and ‘You’re a cancer to Canada’”. The defence conceded that the Roma are an identifiable group but argued that the demonstrations were directed against “gypsies” and there was no evidence that “Roma” is the same as “gypsies”. The trial judge refused to take judicial notice of the shared meaning of these terms. Since the Crown had failed to prove an essential element of the offence, the trial judge acquitted the accused. The Crown’s appeals to the summary conviction appeal court and the Court of Appeal were dismissed.