MONCTON, New Brunswick (Sep. 24)
Malcolm Ross, a Moncton teacher, will not be charged with promoting hatred against Jews after all, New Brunswick’s Attorney-General, David Clark, has ruled.
The ruling virtually repeats what Clark decided last month — that Ross wouldn’t be charged under the hate propaganda provisions of the Criminal Code because two of his books do not fall within the definition of hate literature.
Clark ruled that a third book by Ross, Web of Deceit, probably does constitute hatred against Jews but that the author couldn’t be prosecuted over it because it was no longer available to the public, having been out of print for five years.
Following that ruling, several journalists in New Brunswick were able to get copies of Web of Deceit in local libraries and at the University of New Brunswick. Library officials reported the book was enjoying a new popularity.
Almost immediately, red-faced justice officials withdrew their decision and announced they would review their ruling on whether to formally charge Ross under section 281.2 (2) of the Criminal Code, the same section under which former teacher James Keegstra was convicted last year.
RATIONALE FOR CLARK’S RULING
Last week, Clark ruled that the presence of Web of Deceit in municipal libraries is “not relevant” to the case and that its “mere possession is not a criminal offense. The criminal code sections dealing with hate literature focus on the maker of the oral or written statements.”
He repeated that the 13-month-long police investigation of Ross, author and distributor of the booklets that say the Holocaust was a hoax and that there is a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world, centered on whether he willfully promoted hatred of Jews. The investigation concluded that the only text which may fall into that category was out of print and no longer available.
Despite the fact that Web of Deceit is available in several local libraries, Clark said his original ruling not to prosecute “will stand.”
In an interview with The Canadian Jewish News, Clark admitted his department “was caught off guard” in originally saying the book wasn’t available to the public. “We should have said it wasn’t available from the publisher. We were investigating a complaint against Ross, not against libraries,” Clark said. “Mein Kampf (by Adolph Hitler) is one of the greatest pieces of hate literature ever, but it’s in the library.”
The complainant in the case, Julius Israeli, an Orthodox Jew living in Newcastle, was tightlipped when contacted, saying he had no comment other than describing the government of Premier Richard Hatfield as less than sympathetic to Jews.
Israeli, who filed the original complaint against Ross in July 1985, said he would re-file the charges if an expected election ousts Hatfield and brings in a Liberal government.