Canadian man found guilty in terror trial

Wed Oct 29, 2008 3:25pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren and Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - A Canadian man who admired Osama Bin Laden and who was the first to be charged under a tough new anti-terror law was found guilty on Wednesday in a trial linked to a plot to carry out bomb attacks in Britain.

Judge Douglas Rutherford of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that 29-year-old software engineer Momin Khawaja had been involved with a British terrorist group, which he knew was involved in terrorist activity.

Rutherford convicted him of five of seven terrorism offenses, as well as two separate criminal offenses of having worked on a device to activate a bomb detonator and possessing an explosive substance. Khawaja was tried without a jury.

"I found you guilty as charged," Rutherford told an impassive Khawaja, who stood between two police officers behind a bulletproof glass shield. He was wearing leg shackles and a light suit and had a tight-clipped beard.

British police had named Khawaja as co-conspirator in the case of five men who were jailed for life last year for a thwarted plan to bomb nightclubs, trains and a shopping center in Britain.

But Rutherford acquitted Khawaja of two charges that he knew explosives and the remote detonating device -- dubbed the "hi-fi digimonster" -- would be used in the planned attacks in Britain.

The judge agreed with the defense's assertion that it was possible Khawaja thought his devices would be used in Afghanistan or Iraq.

"He was acquitted of the London bombing ... It's terrific. It was what we set out to do," an upbeat defense lawyer Lawrence Greenspon told reporters, saying the other five charges were "far less serious."   Continued...