Canada top court rejects appeal in white supremacy probate case

Thu Jun 9, 2016 4:17pm EDT
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By Ethan Lou

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court decision to stop the execution of a New Brunswick man's will that bequeathed his estate to U.S. white supremacists.

The Ottawa-based Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal against a previous provincial court ruling, which was brought by the Canadian Association for Free Expression. It did not give a reason for the decision, in accordance with its usual practice.

Freedom to give away one's property has sometimes been limited in Canada, where courts have been known to quash wills that they decide go against public policy.

The association has said the provincial court's decision in the case tramples on the rights of Harry Robert McCorkill, also know by the last name "McCorkell," who died in 2004.

McCorkill bequeathed his estate to the National Alliance, a white-supremacist group based in West Virginia.

In 2013, Erich J. Gliebe, then chairman of the National Alliance, swore in an affidavit he knew McCorkill, who had lived in West Virginia, and that the man liked the "European cultural festivals" he had been promoting.

In 2013, his sister, Isabelle McCorkill, successfully challenged the will, saying it was illegal and contrary to public policy.

The case attracted nationwide attention, and Jewish groups and the New Brunswick government joined the case as interveners.   Continued...

A view shows the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa February 6, 2015.  REUTERS/Chris Wattie