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The Toronto Star

November 19, 1999

Judge rejects hate expert

Fears possible bias against skinheads


FarberA JUDGE has rejected Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress, as an expert witness in a trial of skinheads charged with promoting hate.

Farber was called by Crown Attorney Maggie Lazaridis yesterday to give expert testimony on neo-Nazi and skin-head symbolism and white supremacy.

Although Farber has previously testified as an expert in about a dozen cases, Mr. Justice Russell Otter ruled in this instance he could be perceived as having a bias.

Otter pointed to comments Farber made to the media following a protest by skinheads in August, 1997, outside the Lido Motel where recently arrived Czech Roma refugee claimants were staying.

Four adults -- Kryusztof Krymowski, Ryan Marshall, Michael Schulz and Quinn McFarlane -- and two young offenders, are being tried for wilfully promoting hate as a result of the protest involving skinheads wearing scarves over their faces and carrying a Nazi swastika and placards reading, "Honk if You Hate Gypsies'

Otter said he was particularly concerned by an article which appeared in Now Magazine in which Farber was quoted as stating: "Slam (the skinheads) hard and slam them now," in urging charges be laid after the protest.

"It's pretty colourful, pretty provocative and strong language," the judge said.

Otter said there was a concern that the tone of Farber's earlier public comments advocating authorities come down hard on the skinheads might lead to his expert testimony being "shaded, tailored, tempered, nuanced in a fashion to achieve that goal."

Smiles were visible on the faces of the accused as the judge rendered his ruling. Farber refused to comment on it yesterday.

The trial continues today.

 Toronto Globe & Mail,

November 19, 1999


Neo-Nazi expert can't testify at hate trial

He's tainted by public comments, judge says


The Globe and Mail, Toronto

A NOTED expert on the neo-Nazi movement was disqualified by a judge from testifying at the trial of seven people charged with promoting hatred yesterday because he may he biased.

Bernie Farber, executive director of the Canadian Jewish Congress's Ontario region, was to be the Crown's final witness in the case against demonstrators who picketed a Scarborough motel where Roma refugee claimants were staying in August, 1997.

Provincial Court Judge Russell Otter rejected him as an expert witness, ruling that remarks he had made to the press after the demonstration, but before charges were laid, could taint his testimony.

Among the statements that Mr. Farber made were: "This is a clear-cut case of hate-mongering" and "If Canada's hate-crimes laws were written for anything, they were written for this."

Mr. Farber was also quoted in another newspaper article saying, "Slam (the skinheads) hard and slam them now."

In his ruling, Judge Otter said: "The bottom line is there is a concern [with] the approach and language used by Mr. Farber in this case -- and I emphasize this case -- urging immediate charges be laid. There is quite logically expert evidence he may give that could be shaded, tailored, tempered and nuanced to achieve that goal.'

Although the job of the defence counsel is to illustrate any potential bias through cross-examination, in the case of an expert witness it may be beyond counsel's ability and expertise to do so, Judge Otter said.

It is the first time Mr. Farber has been rejected. He has been called as an expert witness in nine trials and two labour-relations hearings.

Mr. Farber declined to comment after the judge's ruling because the case is still before the courts.

"We are disappointed that the court won't have the benefit of this expertise, but we pledge to continue to work with government, with the courts and the police in continuing to confront racists and white supremacists," Danny Roth, a spokesman for the Canadian Jewish Congress, said outside the courtroom.

The case continues today.

Related items:

Confidential Report by Bernie Farber on a 1986 lecture tour by David Irving
Farber reports on schoolteacher Paul Fromm, Jan 1997
Farber advocates torture of prisoners | Amnesty International reports, Israel Supreme Court to Rule on Torture and Holding of Lebanese Hostages as Pawns
Canada's Jewish leaders do profound disservice to Jewry and Israel, argued journalist Gerald Caplan in 1990
The above press release is reproduced without editing other than typographical
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