Your Ward News editor sentenced to year in prison

Your Ward News editor-in-chief James Sears speaks to the media, following his trial in Toronto on Jan. 24. (Paul Lungen/The CJN)

The editor of a Toronto-based publication that attacked women and Jews has been sentenced to one year in prison, after being convicted on hate charges.

James Sears, the editor of Your Ward News, was sentenced on Aug. 22 to two six-month terms. He was found guilty in January of promoting hatred against women and Jews.

A judge denied his bid to re-open his trial, after Sears argued that his lawyer had deliberately thrown the case. Judge Richard Blouin of the Ontario court of justice found that the lawyer had acted professionally. Sears, 55, was led away in handcuffs.

His sentencing “is a moment of justice for the thousands of women and Jewish community members from across the GTA who have been impacted by the toxic hate-mongering of Your Ward News,” wrote Noah Shack of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.

Sears “has a long record of promoting grotesque anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, misogyny, homophobia and racism. I am proud that the Jewish community played a key role in bringing James Sears and Your Ward News to account before the law,” Shack continued.

B’nai Brith Canada said it is “satisfied” with the sentence. “This strong sentence was necessary to send a clear message – that repeated and remorseless attempts to spread hate in Canadian society will not be tolerated,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO.

In 2016, Judy Foote, then the minister responsible for Canada Post, banned Your Ward News from being distributed by mail, which remains in effect to this day. B’nai Brith intervened in that matter, to ensure that the ban would not be lifted, the organization added.

B’nai Brith noted that in his decision, the judge “expressed his frustration over the fact that the sentence had to be limited to a year, arguing that the penalty should have been a prison term of at least 18 months.”

The newspaper will still be allowed to continue publishing, as long as it does not break the Criminal Code, B’nai Brith pointed out.

The paper’s publisher, LeRoy St. Germaine, will be sentenced on Aug. 29.