Jaggi Singh acquitted of all charges connected with Quebec City protest

Well-known Montreal activist Jaggi Singh was acquitted in Quebec City municipal court Tuesday on charges he was facing in connection with an anti-far right protest.

Singh, 48, had been charged with obstruction and with impersonation, for identifying himself to arresting officers as former Quebec Nordiques hockey star Michel Goulet, in August 2017.

Quebec City spokesperson David O'Brien told CBC News the judge acquitted Singh because the trial could not proceed in English. 

Singh said he speaks French but requested the trial proceed in English, to ensure all witnesses would be understood.

In an interview with CBC News on Wednesday, he criticized the Crown's inability to provide a prosecutor proficient in English.

"It's like almost saying, 'Hey English-speakers, come to Quebec City and commit crimes, and you'll get off eventually because they can never prosecute you,'" he said.

In a public Facebook post Wednesday, Singh said he had been travelling back and forth between Montreal and Quebec City to prepare for the trial. 

"There still might be an appeal of today's decision, but for now, I fought the law, and I won," Singh said in the post. 

Singh was arrested in 2017 during what he described as "a peaceful protest" against a march being staged by far-right group La Meute. In a statement at the time, Quebec City police called the counter-protest illegal. 

Though Singh was released shortly after his initial arrest, he was arrested again in Montreal a few days later and charged with obstructing the work of police and refusing to provide his real name.

'I don't have his moustache'

Singh said he identified himself as the famous hockey player as a joke. He didn't believe he was going to convince Quebec City police that he was actually Goulet.

"I don't play hockey as well. I don't have his moustache, so it's ludicrous," he said.

While he might be celebrating the court's decision on the matter, Singh said it's important not to lose sight of what led to his arrest in the first place.

"The very reason for being on the streets that day is still applicable now," he said.

"That is the rise of a racist far-right that is using Islamophobia and other forms of hatred to rile up the population, and even more disturbingly, the normalization of those far-right ideas within mainstream Quebec society."