OSHAWA — A judge has sentenced a man who scrawled anti-Muslim graffiti at bus stops in Durham Region to five months in jail.
Joseph Porco shows little insight into the harmful nature of his conduct, Ontario Court Justice Ferhan Javed said in handing down the sentence Thursday, Sept. 21.
“Mr. Porco’s message left black marks on a public bench but even after the words are scrubbed away with a guilty plea, it leaves stains that may be more permanent,” the judge said. “Mr. Porco’s message was both hateful and hurtful to the community and needs to be deterred.”
Porco, 56, of Oshawa, pleaded guilty to a single count of mischief. He was arrested after Durham police began investigating more than a dozen incidents of someone scrawling “No More Muslims” in February and March of this year on Durham Region Transit bus shelters in Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa.
Porco was caught “red-handed” by police conducting surveillance on a bus shelter, court heard. He was charged with multiple counts of mischief, but no hate crimes.
After his arrest, Porco told police he felt people were “taking advantage of living in this country,” court heard.
Porco’s defence lawyer, Paul Affleck, had lobbied for a term of house arrest. Justice Javed said Thursday the facts of the case warrant real jail time.
The judge cited Porco’s lengthy criminal record, which includes convictions for criminal harassment and mischief, as well as a history of ignoring court-imposed orders as rationale for rejecting a conditional sentence.
Also a factor is Porco’s failure to recognize the true nature of his behaviour, the judge said; Porco has apologized, but seems to think his offence is limited to vandalism.
“What is plainly missing from the apology is any insight about his actions in choosing hateful words and any semblance of what effect his words would have on the community,” Justice Javed said. “It does not matter that he wasn’t charged with a specific hate crime, because this was a hate crime disguised as mischief.”
Porco has been diagnosed with a delusional disorder with persecutory features, a finding the convicted man rejects, the judge noted. His mental health may have been a factor in his behaviour, “but I simply can’t be sure of this,” the judge said.
Incidents of “bigotry and hate” appear to be on the rise in the region, the judge noted.
“Mr. Porco’s message was clear: No More Muslims,” the judge said. “There can be no other rational inference to be drawn except that he targeted a segment of the community based on religious grounds.”
…a Muslim “refugee” made 85 Facebook posts glamourizing ISIS and praising the murders of two Canadian soldiers. But he was acquitted.
Othman Hamdan, a Muslim “refugee,” was charged with making Facebook posts promoting ISIS, “calling [on] lone wolves to ‘activate’ across the U.S.”
However, the judge ruled that while the posts were “offensive, that did not mean that [Hamdan] was encouraging or inciting acts of murder, assault and mischief…” adding:
Then a Canadian citizen, who may be delusional, scrawls three words on a bus bench — not even a derogatory name, let alone a call to action or violence — but he’s thrown in jail by a Muslim judge for nearly half a year.
And all of this before M-103, the anti-Islamophobia motion is turned into law…
As we wrote last week, Canada is quickly becoming Canadastan.