The trial of a Montreal man who published so much hate against Jews on a neo-Nazi website that he was described by the Quebec media as one of North America’s “most influential neo-Nazis” came to a close on Friday.
Gabriel Sohier Chaput, 35, faced prosecutors in a Quebec courtroom for admitting to authoring a 2017 article on the Daily Stormer website, the Canadian Press reported.
He faces a charge of willfully promoting hatred.
But his lawyer argued the content of the article was supposed to be taken as ironic.
Prosecutor Patrick Lafrenière delivered closing arguments on Friday. His case rested on demonstrating that the article on the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer site included hateful content.
He said that Sohier Chaput wrote that 2017 would be a year of “non-stop Nazism, everywhere.”
“You have to take the context into account. Nazism is the largest manifestation of hate toward the Jews,” he told the court.
He described the article’s offensive tone and references to Jews as “our enemies” as “likely to promote hatred [against Jews].”
Sohier Chaput’s lawyer Helene Poussard said in court in March that her client was writing ironically in an attempt to make readers laugh, and that his calling the Jewish community “our enemies” did not constitute a criminal offence. Her client also testified that he thought the Daily Stormer was a “parody site.”
Sohier Chaput was one of the most frequently published writers on the Daily Stormer, with approximately 1,000 articles written under the pen name Zeiger.
In court, Sohier Chaput admitted that he was behind the name Zeiger, under which the article was written. The article contained multiple slurs and offensive terms for Jews. It also mentions a Global News story about neo-Nazi posters found at a British Columbia bust stop.
In 2018, the Montreal Gazette reported that Montreal was home to one of North America’s “most influential neo-Nazis,” who was trying to build a white supremacist network in his city, referring to Sohier Chaput, who worked as an IT consultant. The report characterized Sohier Chaput as “probably” the “second-most prolific writer” on the Daily Stormer.