Alleged terrorist plotters failed to recruit Ontario pathologist, says his lawyer

Published: April 3, 2014
Canada-Pakistan-Ontario

Khurram Syed Sher arrives to face trial on a terrorism charge at the Ottawa court house in Ottawa on Monday, February 10, 2014.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

JIM BRONSKILL
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — A lawyer for accused terrorist Khurram Syed Sher says there is no evidence his client signed on to a purported conspiracy to support violent jihad.

During closing arguments Thursday, defence lawyer Michael Edelson told an Ontario Superior Court judge that Sher did not “buy in” to the scheme of two alleged co-conspirators.

Secret audio surveillance of a July 2010 discussion among the three men at an Ottawa home reveals no intent on Sher’s part to become part of a plot, Edelson said.

“He didn’t buy in. He didn’t join,” Edelson said. “There was never an actual objective — which he agreed to — that was illegal.”

The Crown says the homegrown group was dedicated to supporting violent jihad by whatever means possible.

It contends the three men agreed to raise money, send cash abroad, take paramilitary training, make and use explosives, and scout targets in Canada.

Sher, 31, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of conspiring to facilitate terrorism.

He was an anatomical pathologist in St. Thomas, Ont., south of London, before his arrest in August 2010.

Sher made international headlines shortly after his arrest when it emerged he had once performed on the popular TV program “Canadian Idol.” He has been out on bail, under strict conditions, for years.

A publication ban on certain elements of the case limits what can be reported during the trial, expected to wrap up Friday.

Early in the trial, the Crown played six segments of sometimes patchy audio culled from electronic surveillance of the 2010 meeting.

At one point Sher and the two others on the recording discuss the best means of choosing a group leader, suggesting they pick a name from a hat or even spin a bottle.

The meeting descends into laughter, farce and “all sorts of stupidity,” Edelson told the court.

“They weren’t legitimately creating any conspiracy here.”

There is “ample proof” that the other two men had been plotting together, but that happened before Sher dropped in on them that evening en route to southern Ontario, Edelson said.

During the meeting, the three discussed various plans, allegedly including Sher’s intention to arrange tactical instruction through a man he met in Pakistan who claimed to be with the Taliban.

Edelson said the Crown has acknowledged that the RCMP looked into the Pakistani man’s background and concluded he was not known to be affiliated with any terrorist group.

The evidence indicates Sher was simply “trying to string these guys along” during the Ottawa meeting and actually had no serious intention of becoming an extremist.

In his closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Jason Wakely said the accused co-conspirators were candid with Sher about their past activities and future plans. For instance, one confided to Sher that he learned to make bombs in Afghanistan.

The three men were clearly talking about advancing their cause through violent means, Wakely said.

Judge Charles Hackland raised the question of whether Sher suddenly found himself, quite unexpectedly, in the middle of some “very radical talk.”

Wakely said the audio recording of the July 2010 meeting clearly implicates Sher.

“He is agreeing to this objective to facilitate violent jihad,” Wakely said. “He knew what they were all about. He knew what they were doing.”

Sher never expresses any reservations, nor says anything to distance himself from the two others, he added.

No reasonable person would have kept silent about what they heard that night, Wakely said.

“How can you not call the police?”

Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter

17:58ET 03-04-14

[+]

Tags: , , , , , , , ,



Readers Comments (0)

Comments are closed.

Featured

cricket-terrorism-Belgium

Pakistani cricketer labeled terrorist for carrying bat on public transport, deported from Belgium

VANCOUVER DESI A young Pakistani cricketer and his family have been forced out of Belgium after he was labeled a terrorist for carrying his cricket…
Continue Reading »

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Abbotsford police look for suspect in Mill Lake sex assault

VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman at Mill Lake last week. In a press release, police said…
Continue Reading »

terrorism

Dharm Makwana: Presumed guilty until you miss your flight

  DHARM MAKWANA VANCOUVER DESI By the end of the ordeal my wife was on the verge of tears. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Police tape-Abbotsford-crime

Abbotsford police look for suspect in Mill Lake sex assault

VANCOUVER DESI Abbotsford police are looking for a man who sexually assaulted a woman at Mill Lake last week. In a press release, police said…
Continue Reading »

terrorism

Dharm Makwana: Presumed guilty until you miss your flight

  DHARM MAKWANA VANCOUVER DESI By the end of the ordeal my wife was on the verge of tears. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection…
Continue Reading »

patquinn2

Spice Sports: Pat Quinn passes away at age 71

GOPI AND THE GORA FOR VANCOUVER DESI The hockey world is deeply saddened by the passing of the legendary Pat Quinn, who spent nearly 50…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

suffer in silence

Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse

NIRMALA RANIGA VANCOUVER DESI The reasons for not reporting incidents of sexual abuse or harassment are many and varied. Recently, we have addressed some of…
Continue Reading »

Sitara Devi

Kathak star Sitara Devi dies after prolonged illness

IANS Mumbai – Eminent danseuse Sitara Devi, who once impressed Rabindranath Tagore with a three-hour solo recital, died here Tuesday after prolonged illness, leaving behind…
Continue Reading »

monkey main

Killer monkeys invade India after government issues wildlife preservation to protect wild apes

CEN AGENCY A ban on capturing monkeys in India has led to an explosion of ape attacks – some which are deadly – across the…
Continue Reading »

Surrey RCMP were called to ..

Surrey husband charged with murder after wife found dead in Newton home

SURREY NOW and VANCOUVER DESI A Surrey man has been charged with murder after his 64-year-old wife was found dead at their Newton home on…
Continue Reading »

desi bride loaded in gold

Indian bride draws flak for wearing $700,000 jewellery at her wedding

CEN AGENCY An Indian sweet maker made sure his daughter was the golden girl at her upcoming wedding by covering her in gold jewellery worth…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Hrithik Roshan and Sussanne Khan

Arjun Rampal still quiet on his proximity to Hrithik Roshan’s ex-wife Sussanne

HINDUSTAN TIMES In December 2013, Arjun Rampal’s name was dragged into the troubled Hrithik Roshan-Sussanne Khan marriage. Rumours claimed that the actor, a close friend…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood sex

Bipasha Basu: Pinkathon important platform encouraging women

IANS Mumbai – Actress Bipasha Basu Tuesday expressed support for Pinkathon, a run for breast cancer awareness, terming it an important platform that encourages women….
Continue Reading »

Kangana Ranaut

Bollywood’s female stars rise in stature and crank out hits, but ask: Where is the money? (w/gallery)

NIRMALA GEORGE THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — This is Bollywood’s year of the woman. Some of the biggest hits in India’s prolific movie industry…
Continue Reading »