R. v. Zundel, [1992] 2 SCR 731

Ernst Zundel - Appellant v. Her Majesty The Queen - Respondent

The accused was charged with spreading false news contrary to s. 181 of the Criminal Code, which provides that "[e]very one who wilfully publishes a statement, tale or news that he knows is false and causes or is likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment . . .". The charge arose out of the accused's publication of a pamphlet entitled Did Six Million Really Die? The accused had added a preface and afterword to an original document, which had previously been published by others in the United States and England. The pamphlet, part of a genre of literature known as "revisionist history", suggests, inter alia, that it has not been established that six million Jews were killed before and during World War II and that the Holocaust was a myth perpetrated by a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. The accused was convicted after a lengthy trial. On appeal, his conviction was upheld on constitutional grounds but struck down for errors in admitting evidence and in the charge to the jury. The matter was sent back for a new trial. The accused was again convicted and his conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeal. This appeal is to determine whether s. 181 of the Code infringes the guarantee of freedom of expression in s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, if so, whether s. 181 is justifiable under s. 1 of the Charter.