Grayson, Sask. man guilty of uttering threats against Justin Trudeau
A Saskatchewan man has been found guilty of uttering threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Facebook.
Christopher Hayes, 41, has been fined $500 and given nine months of probation. Part of the probation stipulates that Hayes is not allowed within 100 metres of Trudeau at any public event, is not allowed direct or indirect contact with Trudeau and must not refer to Trudeau in anyway directly using electronic social media.
Hayes, who is from Grayson, Sask. is also prohibited from owning firearms for five years.
In a Facebook post on March 6, 2016, Hayes wrote: “Imma buot to go shoot this mother (expletive) dead.”
“And if the Canadian liberal voters won’t stand up for all fn Canadians and demand better conduct by the Trudeau government I’ll cut off the head if the snake myself and go down in the history books as the man who saves Canada,” the post continued.
On July 8, 2016, Hayes posted: “Am I going to kill JT? Nope. Physically harm the guy? Nope. I do think however he should be shot dead…. and I would personally thank the person who did kill him.”
Court heard that the RCMP interviewed Hayes in April 2016, after seeing the first post, and Hayes said he wrote it out of frustration.
He claimed he was not a violent person, but said he had been working in the oilfield for 20 years and that Trudeau doesn’t care about the oilfield. Hayes said that he’d had a few drinks, was playing online video games and talking politics with his oil industry buddies at the time.
Hayes told the officer that he was tired of Trudeau, but that he “was not going to go and do that, obviously.”
Court heard that Hayes wasn’t charged after the first post because the investigating officer believed Hayes understood the mistake he had made and would not do it again.
Mounties first received a complaint on March 30, 2016 that threats had been made against Trudeau on social media.
An investigation was launched by the RCMP national security enforcement section.
A second complaint of a similar nature was made on July 13, 2016.
Hayes was arrested on Aug. 2, 2016 and charged with uttering a death threat to the prime minister. Several electronic items were seized from his house in Grayson, Sask.
In a 35-minute statement with police in August, Hayes said he would not kill Trudeau and said it was Trudeau’s dealing with Quebec that led to the second post.
Even his mother told him to stop, Hayes told the officer. Hayes said he agreed when the officer told him that he had crossed a line.
The defence argued that Hayes did not intend to utter a threat, but only to express an opinion. It said considering the context in which the words were written and posted, a reasonable person would not find them to be a threat to cause the death of the prime minister.
Provincial court Judge Ross Green disagreed.
“I accept that Mr. Hayes did not intend to kill the prime minister and I further accept that he was frustrated by the economic
problems he was facing when he made the posts on Facebook,” Green said in a written statement Monday.
“But … I am satisfied that he intended the threatening words he used in both of his posts, regarding causing death to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to intimidate and to be taken seriously.”
Hayes appeared to be back on Facebook on Monday.
In a post before the court decision was issued, Hayes wrote he’s “one of an elite group of citizens whom has said enough is enough and stood up to the the trudeau liberals and their scare tactics of using the rcmp to silence any one who should voice an opinion other than their own.”
He said if he was found guilty, he would refuse any probation and protest the decision by accepting only jail time.
“i truely believe i am innocent of the crime of THREATENING JUSTIN TRUDEAU…..thank you all and no matter what happens dont be afraid to voice your opinion,” he wrote.
With files from Jennifer Graham, The Canadian PressFollow @AlexaHGlobal
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