Last members of terror cell `Toronto 18` found guilty

Last Updated: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 15:56

Toronto: In a landmark verdict, the last two members of `Toronto 18` were convicted by a Canadian jury closing the final chapter on the home-grown terror-cell.

All 18 men of the group swept up by police in the 2006 during counter-terrorism operation.

Seven were released eventually after the charges against them were dropped, while remaining nine members have confessed their guilt or been found guilty by a court of law.

Asad Ansari, 25 and Steven Chand, 29, last members of `Toronto 18` were found guilty of participating in a terrorist group that plotted to storm Canadian Parliament and detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto.

The crime carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

The group allegedly had plans to target the Canadian spy agencies and military base, Toronto Stock Exchange, power grid in Ontario and a nuclear station using fertiliser explosives packed in rented trucks.

Chand was also found guilty of "counselling to commit fraud" over USD 5,000 for the group`s benefit, an offence that could earn him life imprisonment.

The group apparently wanted to buy ammonium nitrate or bomb-making ingredient from undercover policemen, who had exchanged it with an inactive substance.

The plot was aimed forcing Canada to withdraw from Afghanistan.

Sentence verdict on Ansari and Chand would be pronounced later by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Crown attorney Croft Michaelson said the verdict marked a fitting end to the four-year ordeal.

"It was the result that we had always hoped for and expected," he said outside court, flanked by his Crown colleagues. "It ends the saga."

The RCMP`s assistant commissioner, Gilles Michaud, said the collective outcome of the Toronto 18 cases "demonstrated Canada`s ability to respond to terrorist threats”.

The Superior Court jury deliberated for six days before reaching its verdict.


First Published: Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 15:56

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