Five months have passed since RCMP searched and seized property of Quesnel resident Arthur Topham, but the Radical Press editor has yet to be formally charged.
“It makes me question the validity of the search warrant,” Topham said.
In late May of this year, Topham was arrested, his house searched and personal documentation seized after it was determined there were “reasonable grounds the offence of promotion of hatred was committed.”
Since then Topham has had to comply with certain conditions, including restricted Internet access and is prohibited from maintaining his websites (including the Radical Press domain.)
During the search, members of the B.C. Hate Crime Team seized three computers from Topham’s residence, two Macs and one laptop.
“It’s been five months,” Topham said.
“And they have not returned my original computer. I’m left without all my contacts.”
Topham says the search and seizure without a formal charge has him questioning his rights.
Topham adamantly denies the alleged charge, which falls under 319(2) of the Criminal Code: Willful promotion of hatred.
He says the allegations from his accuser stem from a long-term vendetta.
“This has been going on for years,” he said.
Back in 2008 the Observer published a story in which Topham had received a complaint from the Canadian Human Rights Commission stating he was promoting hatred towards Jews and citizens of Israel.
Currently, Topham and his defence lawyer Doug Christie are working on the validity of the search warrant, claiming the information used to obtain it includes “vast areas of presumption of evidence.”
Until then Topham continues to question when his belongings will be returned – and
how long the courts have to formally charge him.
“As of right now, no one knows when I can expect an indictment to come down,” he said.
“The process is becoming the punishment.
“You’d think we were in the Soviet Union back in the 80’s.”
Detective and Cst. for the provincial Hate Crime Team, Terry Wilson could not comment on the matter as it is before the courts.
Topham is back in court, Nov. 9.