Anti-Jewish web postings about 'synagogues of Satan' at heart of Arthur Topham's trial

Arthur Topham's views on Judaism are admittedly "not mainstream" said his lawyer who argues that the Quesnel man's website, though offensive, falls short of criminal.

Topham trial 'the biggest waste of taxpayer money' says his lawyer

Arthur Topham and his wife Shastah Topham leave the Quesnel courthouse Friday Nov. 6. (Betsy Trumpenter/CBC)

Arthur Topham's views on Judaism are far from "mainstream," but his lawyer says his website is far from criminal.

The Quesnel man's lawyer said Friday his client is the victim of an "inquisition" for espousing controversial views on a politically sensitive topic.

Topham is charged with willfully promoting hatred against Jewish people through his website RadicalPress.com.

An expert Crown witness said Friday that Topham's postings demonized and distorted Jewish people with phrases like "synagogues of Satan" and a satiric article calling for "the extermination of Israel and all Jews."

Lawyer Barclay Johnson conceded that that his client's views deviated from "the mainstream" but pointed to the fact that Topham did not hate individual Jews, and in fact, his own wife is Jewish.

In closing arguments Johnson said B'nai Brith and the former Canadian Jewish Congress alerted authorities about Topham's website, describing them as "lobby groups for a foreign government trying to shut down a Canadian web site for criticism of Israel and Jews."

Johnson then called the trial "the ultimate insult to freedom, and the biggest waste of taxpayer money."

The crown is scheduled to deliver its own closing arguments Monday, Nov. 9.

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