Alberta man who attempted to circulate currency with hateful slogans handed conditional sentence
Loki Hulgaard sentenced to 4 months house arrest, followed by curfew and probation
A Medicine Hat man who attempted to circulate currency with anti-Semitic and xenophobic slogans printed on it has received a one-year conditional sentence, the result of a joint submission by the Crown and defence.
Loki Hulgaard, who was born Brendan Stanley Dell, was arrested in August 2018 after a local grocery store cashier reported him trying to spend money with "Jewish white genocide" and "ZOG" (Zionist Occupied Government) printed on it.
Around that time, posters with similar messages, such as "Immigration = White Genocide," appeared in the same neighbourhood.
"Better minds than yours hold that white genocide is a myth, it's pseudoscientific and it's based on hatred," Judge John Maher told Hulgaard at the sentencing hearing Thursday in Medicine Hat Provincial Court.
Especially troubling is how this ideology can lead to violence, Maher added, citing developments in eastern Europe and the United States.
"You don't have to show individual harm. It's harm to the community, harm to society," said the judge.
Upon his 2018 arrest, police searched Hulgaard's residence and found four firearms — two with their serial numbers removed — three over-capacity magazines, 1,200 rounds of ammunition and hate literature.
This resulted in a charge of inciting hatred — later changed to promoting hatred, which carries the same maximum sentence of two years imprisonment — and 13 firearm-related charges.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the firearm charges were withdrawn and replaced with a single Firearms Act violation for not updating his name on the registration when he changed it.
He first entered guilty pleas in February but fired his lawyer and said he was going to vacate those pleas before obtaining Scott Hadford as counsel.
Hulgaard 'disenfranchised,' says lawyer
Prosecutor Heather Morris said the fact that his actions were motivated by bias, hatred and prejudice toward Jews and immigrants was a major aggravating factor, demonstrating his enhanced moral culpability.
"It makes these groups feel generally alone and unwelcome," said Morris. "The accused can think whatever he wants, but he can't spread these thoughts in the community."
A victim impact statement from a member of Medicine Hat's small Jewish community was presented but not read aloud.
Defence counsel Scott Hadford described Hulgaard as a "disenfranchised" individual who is dependent upon the local food bank and Salvation Army for sustenance.
Hulgaard's sentence consists of four months house arrest, followed by eight months of curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., and then two years probation.
Throughout that time, he will be involved in a program where he meets with various case workers to assess his needs and address them through the appropriate agencies.
"If one relationship doesn't pan out, it doesn't end his relationship with the program," Hadford explained, adding that the goal is to integrate Hulgaard into society at a level where he can establish some form of "collegiality."
Hulgaard active in online far-right community
Hadford said his client "enjoys reading and doesn't do much else."
Hulgaard also published an online manifesto where he described how he was stockpiling weapons in preparation for a post-apocalyptic race war and appeared on many neo-Nazi podcasts and YouTube channels.
As a condition of his sentence, he must remove all this content within two weeks and is prohibited from posting online about Jews, immigrants or any other ethnic groups.
He's also banned from entering the places where he spread his hate literature — Westminster United Church, St. John's Presbyterian Church, Safeway and Saamis Immigration in Medicine Hat, as well as any events associated with the Jewish or LGBT community.
A question of rehabilitation
When Maher asked if he wanted to speak, Hulgaard said, "I don't have any grudge against Jews per se, but I have disagreement with some policies."
He didn't specify any specific policies.
Kurt Phillips, a board member of the Canada Anti-Hate Network, which monitors far-right extremism, has kept tabs on Hulgaard's online activity since his arrest.
"He's clearly quite intelligent but also profoundly paranoid," Phillips said. "When he's talking about his own life, every single person that he's had any interaction with is, essentially, in his mind, a Jew trying to kill him, or harm in some way."
He said he appreciates the Crown's emphasis on rehabilitation but warns there could be some challenges, especially given the support Hulgaard has received from the online neo-Nazi echo chamber.
"If there are a number of case workers working with him, it might be something that could be successful. I'm somebody who believes anybody can be rehabilitated, and I'm always hopeful that people can. Whether that happens or not is another matter," said Phillips.
"Of course, the individual has to put in some legwork, and if they're not willing to — if they don't think there's anything wrong — then it becomes much more challenging for that to occur."