REGINA — A Saskatchewan man has been found guilty of uttering threats against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after posting expletive-laden posts on Facebook saying Trudeau should be shot.
Christopher Hayes, 41, was fined $500 and given nine months of probation, which includes a ban on attending events with Trudeau. He is also prohibited from owning firearms for three 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.
Christopher Hayes' probation includes nine months of not attending any events with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: Reuters)
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."
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."
Court heard that the RCMP interviewed Hayes in April 2016, after seeing the first post, and Hayes said he wrote it out of frustration.
Mother told him to stop
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.
After the second post, Hayes was arrested at his home in Grayson, Sask., and charged with uttering a death threat to the prime minister.
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.
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