Man jailed for a year after anti-Islam speech spurs emergency-alarm on Toronto subway train


If Eric Brazau had any lingering doubt about how seriously Torontonians take the matter of their vaunted tolerance, it may have been dispelled Tuesday when a judge sentenced him to an extra year in jail for stepping into an apparent crucible of Canadian values — a subway train.

The 50-year-old Mr. Brazau is a convicted hate-monger and a bit of a crank who last July, with two acquaintances, decided to conduct a “social experiment” on the Toronto subway.

At the time, as the situation in Gaza was deteriorating, there were heated protests for and against Israel in the city.

Mr. Brazau’s idea was allegedly to provoke debate among riders, and to that end he boarded the train with an acquaintance decked out in Israeli colours and carrying an Israeli flag and another acquaintance who was to video the proceedings, while Mr. Brazau began loudly denouncing Islam and its holy book, the Koran.

But the stunt backfired when an offended passenger pressed the emergency alarm, causing the train to halt at the next station and ultimately, with Mr. Brazau refusing to leave the car, resulting in a half-hour service delay on the busy Bloor-Danforth line as rush hour approached.

Astonishingly in a province where those convicted of more serious offences regularly receive suspended sentences or house arrest, Mr. Brazau was denied bail and has been in custody since his arrest that day, July 29, or for five months and nine days.

Ontario Court Judge Gerald Lapkin smartly convicted Mr. Brazau of the three charges he was facing — breach of the peace (by interfering with Toronto Transit Commission service), causing a disturbance (by using insulting language) and breaching his probation on the earlier hate-mongering conviction.

“You had a ticket to ride,” Judge Lapkin told him. “Not a pass to harass.”

Later, as he was adding a weapons ban to Mr. Brazau’s conditions for the two years he will eventually spend on probation, Judge Lapkin snapped, “Language can be a weapon too, Mr. Brazau.”

READ MORE: http://news.nationalpost.com/2015/01/06/christie-blatchford-man-jailed-for-a-year-after-anti-islam-speech-spurs-emergency-alarm-on-toronto-subway-train/

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