Two men behind a controversial newspaper that's been banned from being delivered by Canada Post are now facing criminal charges for words the editor-in-chief wrote about political strategists Warren and Lisa Kinsella.
An Ontario Justice of the Peace has charged Your Ward News editor James Sears and owner Leroy St.Germaine with uttering threats. The Kinsellas have long fought the newspaper they call a "hate-rag" and this is the first criminal charge they've had stick.
Sears has called his writing "satirical." He penned the following sentence in this summer's online edition of Your Ward News: "...there was the chance that some hothead who cares deeply about me and my family, would lose it and do something illegal, like bludgeon the Kinsella's to death."
Rather than satire, the Kinsellas saw it as a threat to incite violence against them.
"We took it as the threat that it is. Designed to intimidate us because we have been so outspoken about Your Ward News," said Lisa Kinsella, who calls the Toronto-based paper a 'hate rag.''
"This was a threat designed to shut us up and it won't work."
In an email to CBC Toronto, Sears called their case an, "Impotent complaint laid in desperation by [these] publicity whores." Sears continued to defend himself by saying his words were taken out of context.
Sears and his co-accused and owner of the newspaper, Leroy St.Gemaine, will be summoned to court at a later date to respond to the charge of uttering threats. Sears suggested that the courts today are lacking both sides of the story.
"My legal team and I will mop the floor with the Kinsellas on our first available opportunity in court," he said.
In the 10 years Your Ward News has been around, residents who have had it delivered to their doors have complained, calling it racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, sexist and all-round hateful. Some mail carriers protested having to deliver it.
Last year, the minister responsible for Canada Post, Judy Foote, issued what's known as a prohibitory order against the future delivery of the paper. It is still accessible online.
The ban has been under review since Sears and his council filed an appeal in late April. The Your Ward News defence is free speech. The Kinsellas will argue that they have experienced harm with its distribution.