SASKATOON, Saskatchewan, Feb. 23 (UPI) -- A provincial judge Monday declared First Nations leader David Ahenakew innocent of charges of inciting racial hatred in an anti-Semitic speech in 2002.
Provincial Court Judge Wilfred Tucker made the ruling in Saskatchewan in Ahenakew's second trial on the charges, which upheld the overturning of his 2005 conviction.
The Saskatoon (Saskatchewan) StarPhoenix reported that Ahenakew's lawyers had said the remarks were off-the-cuff and that he hadn't intended to rile up the crowd at a 2002 health conference sponsored by the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
The StarPhoenix said Ahenakew told the audience that when he was stationed in Germany with the military that some Germans had insisted it was the fault of the Jews that World War II had broken out.
After the speech, however, he allegedly made some more-incendiary remarks to a reporter who was taping the interview and had challenged him on what he had said in his speech, the StarPhoenix said.
The fallout from the widely broadcast interview cost Ahenakew his positions on various commissions and boards. He was also stripped of his Order of Canada award, the newspaper said.