Canada jury at an impasse in case of plot to derail train: media

Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:16pm EDT
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian jury has reached a verdict on some of the charges against two men accused of planning to derail a passenger train traveling between Canada and the United States, but is at an impasse on others after eight days of deliberations, local media reported on Wednesday.

The jury in the trial against Tunisian postdoctoral student Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, a permanent Canadian resident of Palestinian descent, has asked the judge for advice on how to resolve their impasse, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported.

Jaser is facing four terrorism-related charges, while Esseghaier is facing five terrorism-related charges. The CBC said Judge Michael Code told the jurors he wants them to try to reach a verdict on all counts.

The prosecution's case relied heavily on intercepted conversations between the two accused men and an undercover FBI agent. The agent posed as a wealthy businessman with radical views who could help pull off the train attack and other violent plots, including plans to target political leaders.

Jaser's lawyer had argued that his client was a con man feigning interest in the alleged plots to scam money out of his co-accused and the agent.

Esseghaier refused to acknowledge the authority of the court and did not retain legal counsel, arguing that the Quran should be used as the sole legal reference. He occasionally dozed off during the month-long trial, while Jaser followed proceedings intently. Neither man mounted a defense nor took the stand.

Jaser pleaded not guilty, while the judge entered a not guilty plea on Esseghaier's behalf.

The two men were arrested in April 2013, and police at the time said the plot was backed by al Qaeda.

(By Andrea Hopkins; Editing by Richard Chang)