Verdict still to come in Popescu hate trail in Sudbury

The trial of 72-year old religious extremist David Popescu wrapped up Friday in Sudbury. The judge will deliver her verdict this spring. The perennial election candidate is charged with willfully promoting hatred again an identifiable group — in this case the LGBTQ community.

Charge stems from distribution of DVDs during 2018 provincial election campaign

Perennial Sudbury election candidate David Popescu. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

The trial of religious extremist David Popescu, 72, wrapped up Friday in Sudbury, although the judge won't deliver her verdict until this spring.

The perennial election candidate is charged with willfully promoting hatred again an identifiable group — in this case the LGBTQ community.

Popescu has run in almost every municipal, provincial and federal election in Sudbury in the last 20 years.

Final submissions from both sides were presented to Justice Heather-Anne Mendez on Friday. Popescu defended himself, while the Crown was represented by attorney Leonard Kim.

During the trial in November, court heard how during the 2018 provincial election, Popescu distributed DVDs to households in Sudbury. The DVD jackets contained written messages and scriptures from the bible.

The DVD jackets stated that former Premier Kathleen Wynne should be killed because of her sexual orientation.

During final submissions, Popescu told the judge he felt it was his duty to speak out about Kathleen Wynne, who is an openly gay politician.

Popescu admitted he had distributed the same DVD over a 20-year time period. The only thing he said he changed during each election period was the message on the jacket the disc was encased in.

During submissions, Popescu spent two hours reciting various biblical passages which he felt proved his case.

"I'm not concerned with going to jail, I care about God's law," he told the judge.

"Consider the impact"

In his final submissions, Kim said by distributing these materials, Popescu was spreading and promoting hatred, judgment and condemnation across the Sudbury community.

Kim said that people in Canada are entitled to feel safe regardless of their race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

"Consider the impact [watching or reading the materials] would have on viewers or readers if they are openly gay, or not yet openly gay," Kim said.

Kim also stated that Popescu was interpreting parts of the bible that suited his needs, yet ignoring parts which speak about love, acceptance, equality and grace.

The judge will deliver her verdict on this case this spring.

Popescu was convicted of a similar charge of hate speech in 2009, for calling for the execution of homosexuals. He was in court in 2015 on a similar charge, but it was withdrawn.