Calgary

Latest conviction means Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston could be in jail on election day

Disgraced Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston could be in jail on election day after an Ontario judge found him guilty of contempt, his fourth criminal conviction this month. 

Convicted of 2 counts of contempt, harassment and causing a disturbance this month

Kevin J. Johnston has been found guilty of contempt in Ontario. He has been convicted of three other crimes in Alberta this month. (YouTube)

Calgary mayoral candidate Kevin J. Johnston could be in jail on election day after an Ontario judge found him guilty of contempt, his fourth criminal conviction this month. 

Justice Fred Myers found Johnston continued to make racist, defamatory statements about a Toronto restaurant owner after another judge ordered him to stop making offensive posts on his social media channels. 

In 2019, Mohamad Fakih successfully sued the wannabe mayor for defamation and was awarded $2.5 million with the judge finding Johnston's behaviour was "a loathsome example of hate speech at its worst."

Johnston has called Fakih a "terrorist" and other "racist slurs," noted the judge.

A sentencing date for Johnston will be set on Aug. 10. 

Niklas Holmberg, who represented Fakih, says he will ask the judge to send Johnston to jail.

Calgary's municipal election takes place Oct. 18.

Johnston is also awaiting sentencing on his Alberta contempt conviction and will be back in court for that in late August.

A criminal conviction does not preclude a person from running for council. Candidates cannot have broken elections laws or owe the city money.

Kevin J. Johnston, who has a history of espousing hate speech, is running for mayor in Calgary but could be in jail on election day. (Derek Storie/Facebook)

Johnston moved from Toronto to Calgary in late 2020 so he could run for mayor. He's become a leader in the anti-mask, COVID-19 denial movement.

Since March, Johnston has targeted his hate at Alberta Health Services (AHS) inspectors who are responsible for enforcing public health restrictions. 

AHS is now suing Johnston for threatening comments like "suggesting the plaintiffs would likely be 'stabbed' or put in a 'wheelchair' and would deserve it," according to the statement of claim.

On July 2, Johnston was found guilty on three counts of civil contempt for defying judges' orders aimed at controlling frequent rule-breakers who incited others to defy public health restrictions.

Johnston 'out of control,' says judge

In that decision, Alberta Justice Adam Germain described Johnston as "venomous," "dangerous and out of control."

He's back in Alberta court on Aug. 25 for sentencing, and AHS has already said it intends to seek a jail sentence for those breaches. 

On July 12, Johnston pleaded guilty to charges of criminal harassment of an AHS inspector and causing a disturbance.

Johnston posted images of the woman and her family and threatened to show up at her home while encouraging his followers to find her address.

Johnston spent about 10 weeks in custody before he was released having served his sentence.

He also faces criminal charges of assault in B.C. and hate crimes in Ontario.

'I have been called worse by better,' says Myers

In this week's Ontario contempt case, Justice Myers denied Johnston's latest request for an adjournment. 

Johnston represented himself, telling the court that he could no longer afford a lawyer and had been denied coverage by Legal Aid despite telling his followers on an earlier broadcast that he never hires a lawyer for civil cases. 

"It's just me," said Johnston on his social media channels.

"I've learned more than my fair share of how the legal system works, and when I get people on the stand, they fold up pretty fast. I am very, very good at cross-examinations in a courtroom. You don't want to be in a courtroom with me."

Myers also noted Johnston had called judges "stupid" and attempted to make a mockery of the court. 

"The issue isn't a little name calling; I have been called worse by better," wrote Myers.

"Mr. Johnston uses language, his intellect, and street smarts to tap into and fan the ugliest currents in society. In doing so, he paints himself as sitting above the rule of law."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach her at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCMeg.

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