Perennial fringe candidate David Popescu will serve 30 days in jail for spreading “messages of shock and horror” after being convicted in September of wilfully promoting hatred towards an identifiable group - namely homosexuals.
Ontario Court Justice Heather Ann Mendes handed down the sentence on Wednesday. In addition to jail time, Popescu, 73, will be on probation for two years. As part of the probation conditions, Popescu is not to distribute or publish any literature or materials that makes reference to Kathleen Wynne, the 2SLGBTQIA+ community or sexual orientation in any way.
Normally, a sentence for this type of conviction would warrant a 90-day intermittent sentence, to be served on weekends, however, intermittent sentences are not being handed down right now due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is Popescu’s second conviction for the same crime, said Mendes.
Popescu has made no acknowledgement of the hurt and violence his words have or could have caused, he lacks any insight as to why he was convicted, and he has not offered any information as to what reflection he has done on this matter, said Mendes.
Furthermore, Popescu has made no attempt to educate himself on how he could have spread his messages from the Bible without finding himself facing criminal charges, she said.
In his own evidence, Popescu confirmed he will reoffend, as he is entitled to his view and to spread the word of God through his hateful and violent messages, said Mendes.
“His actions are clearly motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression,” she said. “The 2SLGBTQIA+ community is a vulnerable group and has historically been repressed, which is why they are an identified, protected group, and this group is entitled to respect and human dignity.
“The fact Mr. Popescu lacks any remorse or insight into the seriousness of his crime, and he confirms that he intends to reoffend, disentitles him to any leniency that otherwise might be appropriate.”
Mendes said she struggled to find any mitigating factors in sentencing.
Popescu doesn’t have any dependents to support, he’s not enrolled in any educational program, he is not employed by an independent employer, nor he does not have any medical appointments he has to attend on a regular basis.
Popescu was on trial over four days, leading to his conviction on Sept. 23, 2020.
During the trial, Popescu told the court the message he was trying to convey in his election material, namely, a number of DVDs he had distributed in the community, was to establish a precedent against the first publicly declared lesbian premier, as he saw this as a new milestone of perversion, said Mendes.
On the DVD jacket covers, it stated God’s wrath is on everyone who shows compassion to (Kathleen Wynne’s) kind, in reference to the then-premier of Ontario and her sexual orientation, said Mendes.
It’s is Popescu’s fundamental belief that the Bible states homosexuals are worthy of death under God’s death penalty, and this is the focus of his message from thousands of pages of scripture, said Mendes.
“I did no accept Mr. Popescu’s evidence, as I did not find him credible or reliable, and I rejected his evidence for a number of reasons including he could not show clear statements or passages from the Bible that quoted his specific violent call to action, calling for the death of the former premier because of her sexual orientation,” Mendes said.
Furthermore, Popescu attempted to minimize the impact of his statements, by indicating it is God who hates homosexuals, and he is simply repeating the word of God, as it is his obligation to warn his fellow brother that he is going down a sinful path, she said.
This material invited the reader to take aggressive and violent action against homosexuals by calling for the death of Wynne due to her sexual orientation, Mendes said, “and the clear conclusion from anyone who read the statements made by Mr. Popescu is that homosexuals are worthy of death and should be put to death because of their sexual orientation.
“The pen is mightier than the sword, and we’ve seen around the world that words can, in fact, incite violence,” said Mendes. “There is no other way to classify what Mr. Popescu did other than calling it what it is - a hate crime.”