Colby Cosh has just alerted me to a novel defense to a theft charge:

blatant theft can be an otherwise honest person’s response to extreme stress

I did not know this. On reflection, I don’t think it should be a defense (although if true, I suppose it might mitigate sentencing).
The accused thief is Svend Robinson, a primary backer of Bill C-250 (which I have discussed before — recently, and back in September).
There’s more:

Can the socialist poster boy bounce back? He faces a hard truth: People don’t like thieves. He has always had strong support from gays and lesbians, Israel-haters, radical greens and others who have had his help in promoting pet causes. He also enjoys a certain trans-political cachet among those who admire his guts. But he has many enemies in his own party, and probably he has now alienated nearly everyone who has ever owned or managed a business or been a victim of larceny. Most of us know how crummy it feels to be ripped off. It leaves behind a proverbial, and justified, stamp of outrage. (“A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged,” the old saying goes.)
Mr. Robinson’s moment of madness jeopardizes what was to be his latest legislative legacy, and what still may end up being his last: Bill C-250, now awaiting third reading in the Senate, which would amend the Criminal Code to forbid the promotion of hatred on the basis of sexual orientation. Church groups say that such an amendment would criminalize traditionalist religious discourse and even the scriptures of some faiths, including the Old Testament. Proponents of Mr. Robinson’s bill deny it, noting that the relevant section of the Code already contains a “good faith” defence for religious speech.
This is, of course, tommyrot. Canadian courts and human rights tribunals have shown small shame about disregarding statutory and common-law defences when it comes to hate law — even the defence of truth. Moreover, anyone who has tried to import mildly controversial literary or cinematic material, and been baffled by customs agents’ interpretations of hate and obscenity law, knows that even what the courts say doesn’t matter much. When it comes to books, records and movies from abroad, what you’re allowed to see is determined by donut-stuffed power-trippers possessing the collective mental subtlety of an Irish wolfhound. If C-250 passes, we are sure to see some religious literature in English detained or rejected at the border arbitrarily.

(I don’t doubt it; in a land where Howard Stern is legally considered hate speech, can the Bible be far behind?)
Here’s Mr. Robinson’s rather self-serving online statement.
I don’t enjoy seeing people get in trouble or kicking them when they are down, as I’ve been there myself. But the fact is, in politics such things are jumped on by political opponents, and this guy has been a staunch advocate of criminalizing more hate speech. Unless he steps down, he’s discrediting his rather questionable cause.
I’m not sympathetic to hate speech legislation, and I am glad we don’t have it in this country. But if Robinson really believes in his cause, he should have the wisdom to distance himself from it by resigning ASAP.
What did he steal? A $10,000 ring for his Cuban boyfriend? Must have been under a lot of stress to go that far….
Meanwhile, Colby, no fan of C-250, is hoping he’ll steal again.