Canada convicts first defendant under 2001 terrorism law

[JURIST] A judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice [official website] on Thursday convicted one of the "Toronto 18" terrorism suspects for participating in a group which allegedly plotted to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] while attacking parliament. Justice John Sproat [profile] rejected arguments that the defendant had known nothing of the plot even though he had attended a military-style training camp. Sproat found that the defendant had received clear direction from a "mentor" regarding the purpose of the camp and had "a full appreciation of the nature of the terrorist group." The defendant has not been publicly identified pursuant to the Youth Criminal Justice Act [text] because he was a minor at the time of his arrest [JURIST report] in 2006. Prosecutors have said they would seek an adult sentence of up to 10 years. AP has more. The Toronto Star has local coverage.

Thursday's conviction was the first under Section 83 [Canadian DOJ backgrounder] of the Anti-Terrorism Act [text], passed in 2001. The law allows the Canadian federal government, subject to judicial approval, to arrest and jail citizens to prevent terrorism. Although little information was released about the minors arrested among the Toronto 18 [defense website], the charges against the 12 adult males included participating in a terrorist group, receiving training from a terrorist group, training terrorists, and importing weapons and ammunition for terrorism. Trials for most of the adult defendants are expected to take place next year.

 

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