“Hey, Google: let’s plan a terrorist attack on a mosq.” The court believes Nicolas Thériault who claims to have published this sentence on social networks to make fun of the personal assistant of Google. The 46-year-old Internet user has therefore been acquitted of inciting hatred of Muslims and death threats.
The 22 th December 2017, Thériault is busy scrolling through his Facebook thread. He sees a Google ad advertising his personal assistant, the Google Home, to whom we can ask questions.
The user writes a first publication by making a dirty request to the personal assistant. He reoffends 20 minutes later, writing the invitation to organize a terrorist attack.
Its publication was reported very quickly to the RCMP. The Quebec police arrested Thériault at his home the same day.
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At the trial, Nicolas Thériault argued that he only wanted to “silly Google”. He is of course aware of the killing at the Grand Mosque of Quebec City on January 29, 2017, but he did not think about it, he says, writing what he calls a joke.
The Crown did not buy this version. The Crown prosecutor referred to several videos shared by Nicolas Thériault which shows, according to the prosecution, a hateful character.
Thériault shared via Facebook videos of various authors showing Muslims celebrating Christmas, the presence of immigrants in Paris, a terrorist attack in Melbourne, collective rapes committed by migrants, etc.
Judge Christian Boulet of the Court of Quebec accepted the testimony of Nicolas Thériault and considers that the words “irresponsible and derisory” do not constitute an incitement to hatred. “If we consider the context described by the defendant, the circumstances surrounding this statement, as well as its recipient, Google, I have a reasonable doubt that this appealing and inappropriate communication expressed hatred, even if in his carelessness, the defendant published this response to Google on Facebook, making it accessible to many people, “concludes Judge Boulet.
After his acquittal, Nicolas Thériault made a point of addressing the representatives of the media. “I did that without thinking and I regret, says the user. I am against any form of terrorism. We must denounce Islamist terrorism and denounce extreme right-wing terrorism. But of course I have developed an aversion to all religions because I do not like it. “
Emma Williams has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Bobr Telegram , Emma Williams worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella.