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Toronto Court Invalidates City Ordinance Banning Park Speeches Inciting Race Hatred

Justice Patrick Hartt of the Ontario Supreme Court upheld a ruling of a lower court that this city’s ordinance against speeches in city parks which incite race hatred is invalid. The ruling affirmed the acquittal of William John Beattie, self-styled Nazi leader, who is currently serving a six-month jail sentence for hanging swastika signs on the homes of leading Jewish citizens of Toronto.

The anti-incitement by-law, enacted by the city, led to Beattie’s imprisonment, but Magistrate Charles Opper had ruled the measure illegal, and the ruling was appealed by the city fathers to the higher court. Justice Hartt, who maintained that the matter was beyond the competence of a municipality’s powers, was a member of the three-man bench which had earlier rejected Beattie’s appeal on the charge for which he is now imprisoned.