Canada: Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera stands trial on mischief charge

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

US anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is standing trial in Canada, for refusing to leave a university where he was distributing ‘graphic’ homophobic leaflets.

LaBarbera – the head of listed homophobic hate group Americans for Truth about Homosexuality – was initially detained at the border in April, while attempting to enter Canada.

He was eventually allowed to enter the country – only to be arrested on April 15 for distributing “graphic” homophobic literature at the University of Regina, Saskatchewan.

When LaBarbera and fellow activist Bill Whatcott allegedly refused to leave the university the police were called, and a crowd of students and onlookers cheered as they were led away in handcuffs.

Judge Marylynne Beato this week heard the case at Regina Provincial Court.

The University of Regina’s vice-president Thomas Chase gave evidence against LaBarbera, alongside two police officers members of campus security.

The pair’s defence lawyer argues that they did nothing wrong in visiting the university – but the Crown insists their refusal to leave when directed to by security was a crime.

According to the Leader-Post, defence lawyer Michael Weger argued: “Isn’t university about different ideas and different viewpoints?

“As soon as we get to a point when we start sending young adults to an institution that tells them exactly how they must think and what to think, then our students stop getting an education.”

However, the Crown prosecutor James Fitz-Gerald insists the University was perfectly within its rights to eject LaBarbera.

The judge will rule on December 22.