A 30-year-old neo-Nazi has become the first man in Quebec history to be sent to prison for promoting hate on the Internet.
Quebec court Judge Martin Vauclair said there is a risk Jean-Sebastient Presseault may offend again, and sentenced him to a six-month prison term Tuesday.
Presseault’s website urged hatred against Jews and blacks, and Vauclair stressed he also had a violent history.
Last May, Presseault was arrested for threatening to kill a judge and possessing an illegal handgun.
Crown prosecutor Thierry Nadon had asked for a one-year sentence and said he was disgusted the website’s content, which included racist cartoons and songs.
The defence lawyer had asked for a three-month sentence to be served in the community.
But Moise Moghrab of B’Nai Brith Canada said the judge’s sentence was too lenient.
“(Presseault) was actively recruiting hate mongers, so I think six months will not discourage anyone like him from doing another website,” he told CTV Montreal.
Presseault is only the third Canadian to be sentenced to prison for spreading hatred on the Internet, and Nadon said the courts are too lenient with such crimes.
“A maximum of two years is considered one of the least serious crimes in the Criminal Code,” said Nadon.
“If we want to send a stronger message, then the maximum should be higher.”
Meanwhile, legal expert Sunny Handa at McGill University argued that law enforcement officials lack the resources to tackle hate websites.
“The growth is dramatic,” said Handa. “And you have to keep in mind the police have not had the growth in budget increases, and the manpower assigned, to keep up with all of it.”
Presseault leaves behind his wife and two-year-old daughter, but could be eligible for parole within two months.