The Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Rick Boswick. Source: Facebook
Rick Boswick, a prominent vlogger in the Canadian hate ecosystem, says he was found guilty on a charge of threatening to cause bodily harm on Friday after a string of court appearances and delays.
“Guilty as charged, beyond a reasonable doubt,” Boswick said during a livestream immediately after.
The sentencing was initially scheduled to be public, but the court would not allow members of the public to join the Zoom courtroom, including the victim of Boswick’s threats.
“The verdict is not a surprise to me given everything that has happened throughout the trial,” Boswick said when reached for comment, adding that his constitutional challenges were ignored because “I didn’t have the acumen to know how to enter evidence into exhibit.”
During his stream after court, Boswick was quick to condemn the process and lay more accusations against the person he was just found guilty of threatening.
“I just bent over backward and put up with your shit,” he said into the camera, “at the same time that my accuser has been terrorizing me and many other people and attacking them and starting riots.”
Boswick, who had also filed a motion for mistrial, also stated during his last court appearance that he has filed a constitutional challenge with the Attorney General, though also reports that this was dismissed due to his failure to provide all the required paperwork.
“I did make a constitutional challenge to the Attorney General,” he said. “Which means that -- I haven’t heard back there were supposed to in 10 to 15 business days get back -- and they have not. So what that means is that there was communication between the crown and the AG or the Justice and the AG.
“The judge probably said, ‘Don’t bother. Just don’t bother.’ And stopped it. Which supersedes my constitutional challenge. You can’t do that. He literally stepped in and violated my rights. If it’s true.
“I’m saying allegedly, but something happened.”
He adds that he is required to provide the province with transcripts from all of his appearances, but found the cost-prohibitive. Boswick has said that he does not qualify for legal aid beyond a series of half an hour consultations and instead is relying on advice from people within his movement.
Because the case proceeded as a summary conviction offence, Boswick is facing a maximum of six months imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000.
Now he’s hoping to release a “documentary” he has titled “Lawfare” that he has put off publishing because of the trial. According to Boswick, it will focus on his arrival in Toronto in 2019, several days before the anti-Muslim rally held by PEGIDA and the violence in Gage Park. He aims to use it to show that the victim is not afraid of him.
During a livestream ahead of his appearance on Friday morning, Boswick called the crown attorney prosecuting him a “diversity hire,” and claimed that the video in evidence was doctored.
In the same video, Boswick launched into complaints that the refusal to allow the full 90 minute livestream in which he and two others threatened the antifascist into evidence amounted to lies and “customizing of the testimony” before baselessly accusing the victim of terrorism.
Boswick had agreed during the pre-trial proceedings that the full video was unnecessary. It was not permitted to be shown in court, but the Judge promised to review it.
He continues to maintain that he made “no direct threat towards an individual,” but did say he deleted the video the next morning as it was “unprofessional.” He is undecided if he will appeal the verdict, citing the cost and lack of access to legal aid.
Boswick includes the Liberal Party of Canada among those who he believes may be conspiring against him.
"I don’t want to seem conspiratorial but because of all these clear violations I wouldn’t be surprised if part of my sentencing was I’m not allowed to do anything online for a year or something. That would be best for the Liberal Party,” Boswick told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network.
Trials & Tribulations
Boswick is a regular feature at rallies held by the racist right in Ontario. He was a ringleader in the harassment of the Al-Soufis, a Syrian family with a popular restaurant in Toronto. They became the target of Boswick and others in part because their son is an antifascist. Boswick was present during attacks on LGBTQ+ persons at Hamilton Pride, and antifascists a week later at Toronto’s Eaton Centre. He has also disrupted a Drag Queen Story Hour with hate preacher Dorre Love. Love is currently facing assault charges for a seperate incident: attacking a man in Vancouver’s gay village and breaking his leg.
Boswick, representing himself at the August proceedings, maintained that the evidence in question – a video streamed to Facebook in Spring 2019 – did not constitute a threat; one of his witnesses even conceded that it was a threat.
“You’re done bud... Get ready. We’re going to start carrying fucking paintball pistols with fucking rubberized marbles, skullbreakers they call them... You fucking act as insane as you are at a fucking protest and I have something like that on my arm I will fucking sh-…, well, I will use it responsibly," he said in the stream. "That’s the only thing I have to say. Given the laws, I will use it only in worst-case scenario but I will relish when I shoot one of you in the fucking forehead with a marble.”
Boswick appeared in the video with Cory Scott and Derek Storie.
Derek Storie (L), Cory Scott, and Rick Boswick (R). Source: Screenshot from video
He spent much of the trial arguing that the full 90-minute video should be shown for context, telling Judge Bovard, “Two minutes of, you know, drunken rants, doesn’t really give you a good sentiment of where people are coming from, what they’re trying to convey, in a 90-minute message."
Anti-Muslim vlogger Kevin Johnston was called to testify on the second day, during which he argued that the victim “supports radical Islam,” and alleged that he was part of an assault Johnston suffered in Ottawa in 2017, which is not true. Johnston characterized Boswick as polite and having a good reputation. Because he raised the issue of Johnston's character, the prosecution was able to introduce Boswick's prior criminal harassment conviction on cross-examination.
Boswick also called Jack Reynolds, a fixture in the Toronto far-right protest scene. Pressing Reynolds on his knowledge of terms and phrases like “creep catchers,” Judge Bovard ruled the majority of Boswick’s questions irrelevant.
Anti-Muslim activist Sandra Solomon was called as a witness shortly after. Crown Nagra read the transcript of the video clip in evidence to Solomon, who insisted Boswick never swears, raises his voice, or threatens people. Asked if the video is an example of Boswick yelling and swearing, Solomon agreed. When the Crown asked if the video included a threat, Solomon agreed that yes, it was a threat, but told the court that Boswick can't be held responsible because he's drunk.
Ed Jamnisek of the Northern Guard and Pegida was also called by Boswick as a witness. Jamnisek told the court that the Pegida rally attendees are “scarred emotionally,” and suffer from “psychological stress if not PTSD.” The court dismissed these claims as irrelevant. Jamnisek also admits that he never saw the victim at the rally in question.
After cross-examination of Jamnisek, Boswick attempts to re-examine him. After this was shut down, Boswick exclaims that he is “getting railroaded.”
Boswick and many of the witnesses attempted to use the proceedings to convince the court to pursue judicial action against anti-fascism and anti-fascists, which was routinely shut down by the court as irrelevant to the fact of whether Boswick uttered a threat.