"Toronto 18" plotter wasn't entrapped, judge says

Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:06pm EST
 
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TORONTO (Reuters) - A Canadian judge ruled on Tuesday that a man found guilty of plotting bomb attacks on Toronto area landmarks in 2006 was not lured by police into committing the crime.

The dismissal of the claim of "entrapment" made by lawyers for Shareef Abdelhaleem, means he will face sentencing later this week following his conviction last month on two charges related to the so-called "Toronto 18" plot.

Abdelhaleem, 34, and 17 others were charged following a 2006 police sting in which members of the group tried to buy what they thought was three tons of explosives from undercover police officers.

Police say the group planned to bomb Toronto landmarks including the Toronto Stock Exchange and the CN Tower, as well as a nearby military base, in a plot similar to the July 2005 London Underground bombings.

Abdelhaleem's lawyers had argued his conviction should be stayed because he had been lured into a plot by a former friend working undercover as a police agent. The police sting followed months of intelligence gathering by two undercover informants.

But the court ruled Abdelhaleem "was not induced or persuaded by the government agent to commit the crimes for which he was found guilty," according to a statement by the federal prosecutor's office.

Since the arrests, charges against seven of the group have been dropped. Several others were recently convicted and have received prison terms, including a life sentence for ringleader Zakaria Amara.

Prosecutors said on Monday they would appeal a 12-year sentence handed down to one member of the group, Saad Gaya. Prosecutors are seeking a stiffer sentence.

(Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Peter Galloway)