LILLEY: New trial ordered for men convicted in Via Rail terror plot


spaminator
#1
LILLEY: New trial ordered for men convicted in Via Rail terror plot
Brian Lilley
Published:
August 27, 2019
Updated:
August 27, 2019 6:35 PM EDT
Chiheb Esseghaier, left, and Raed Jaser in 361 University Ave. court Jan. 29, 2015. (Sketch by Pam Davies /Toronto Sun_
Two would-be jihadis found guilty in a plot that would have blown up a passenger train as it crossed the Niagara Gorge will get a new trial all based on what amounts to a technicality.
Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier were convicted in 2015 of plotting to use explosives to destroy the train bridge linking Ontario and New York State near the Niagara Whirpool. Their hope was to see the Maple Leaf, the daily service between Toronto and New York City, plunge off the bridge, taking passengers into the rapids below.
Now in a ruling from Ontario’s Court of Appeal, a new trial has been ordered citing problems with how the jury was selected.
The court found that the trial judge erred in denying a request by Jaser to have jurors who were challenged on issues of bias or impartiality to be selected by “rotating triers” instead of “static triers.”
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“Rotating triers” meaning a rotating group of prospective jurors would determine the ability of an individual to hear the case without bias.
Jaser and his legal team also wanted any prospective jurors excluded from the courtroom during challenges to ensure they were not swayed by arguments heard.
The judge’s decision to deny these two requests means a new trial will be heard and the two men could possibly go free.
On the one hand, this ruling is outrageous. I believe the two men are guilty and the evidence proves it.
On the other hand, this ruling shows how seriously our courts take jury selection. Too bad our politicians have not.
Trial by jury is fundamental to our justice system, the right to be tried by 12 of your peers is centuries old.
Yet this ruling granting a new trial comes about in part because politicians messed with the system. A change to the criminal code by the Harper government in 2008 changed the way jurors could be challenged, allowing for “static triers” rather than just rotating ones.
The decision by the judge in the 2015 trial of Jaser and Esseghaier to deny the request for rotating instead of static is at the heart of this. Prior to 2008, that wouldn’t have been an issue.
Sketch shows Raed Jaser appearing in court in Toronto on April 23, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Alexandra NEWBOULD
While this may seem a small point, insignificant really, lawyers say it goes to the heart of the jury system and fairness. Which is why it is puzzling that the Trudeau government has done away with both systems and will only allow judges to decide if a challenge to a juror is valid.
If this is all a bit confusing, don’t worry, those operating in the system tell me they don’t know why any of these changes were made to a system that operated well for centuries.
Yet now these manipulations of the system have a very real effect, two convicted terrorists are closer to freedom than they should be.
Jaser and Esseghaier sought to kill perhaps hundreds of people and inflict terror on not one but two nations.
Chiheb Esseghaier is led off a plane by an RCMP officer at Buttonville Airport just north of Toronto on April 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Esseghaier is so devoted to his cause that he has refused to acknowledge the jurisdiction of the courts in this country and has also refused legal representation. He believes he should be judged by the Quran alone — that the laws of Islam and not men apply to him.
Our courts have now extended to these two would-be terrorists the very rights and freedoms they sought to snuff out with their attack.
They don’t deserve those rights and freedoms but this ruling does show that our courts will protect them, despite political meddling, even for the most heinous people who appear before them.
blilley@postmedia.com
http://torontosun.com/opinion/column...rdered-for-men
 
Jinentonix
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This country has become a f*cking joke.
 

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