A former Mississauga, Ont., mayoral candidate charged two years ago with a hate crime, displayed “horrific” behaviour when he made “hateful Islamophobic” comments against Paramount Fine Foods owner Mohamad Fakih, a judge has ruled.

In a decision released Monday, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded $2.5 million in damages to Fakih and Paramount, a chain of Middle Eastern restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area, for defamation over a series of videos and online posts made by Kevin Johnston, some on his website Freedom Report, starting in July 2017.

Johnston, who most recently ran for mayor in 2018 when he lost out to current mayor Bonnie Crombie, placing second with 13.5 per cent of the vote, was charged in 2017 for offering a $1,000 reward in exchange for videos of Muslim students praying in schools.

He, his website, and Ron Banerjee were named as defendants in Fakih’s original lawsuit, filed Aug. 4, 2017.