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Anti-feminist blogger who praised Polytechnique shooter sentenced to 12 months in jail

Jean-Claude Rochefort, 74, had been arrested in December 2019 in connection with with blog posts praising École Polytechnique shooter Marc Lépine while expressing hatred toward feminists. (Radio-Canada - image credit)
Jean-Claude Rochefort, 74, had been arrested in December 2019 in connection with with blog posts praising École Polytechnique shooter Marc Lépine while expressing hatred toward feminists. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

Anti-feminist blogger Jean-Claude Rochefort, who was convicted of fomenting hatred against women, has been sentenced to 12 months in jail.

The 74-year-old had been arrested in December 2019 in connection with posts and doctored images he had posted to his blog, in which he praised Marc Lépine, who murdered 14 women at Montreal's École Polytechnique on Dec. 6, 1989 in an anti-feminist attack.

Charged in 2010 for making death threats against women on his website, Rochefort was writing under a pseudonym. Montreal police's cyber investigation team nevertheless managed to find him and charge him again in December 2019.

He was found guilty of wilfully promoting hatred against women last August.

In his ruling, Quebec Superior Court Justice Pierre Labrie rejected Rochefort's claims that his publications constituted satire, exaggeration or self-deprecation.

Noting the use of the word kill and the use of images of firearms and decapitated women in the accused's posts, the judge found that Rochefort could not have been unaware that he was deliberately promoting hatred against women.

Labrie sided with the Crown at Rochefort's sentencing on Friday in Montreal, rejecting the nine-month house arrest sentence sought by the defence.

"The seriousness of the crime, the profile of Rochefort and the purposes and principles of sentencing lead the court to conclude that a sentence of 12 months imprisonment is appropriate in the circumstances," said Labrie in his judgment.

Following the sentencing, Crown prosecutor Jérôme Laflamme said he was satisfied.

"This is an offence punishable by a maximum of two years in prison and the man received 12 months. So, it's a sentence that is important, commensurate with the seriousness of the content, the publications that had been made and the hatred that this content generated against women," he said.

Rochefort was sentenced to three years' probation following his release, during which he will be prohibited from possessing weapons, from writing online in connection with the content for which he was convicted and from going near Université de Montréal (UDM) and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM).