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Quote:Ontario’s top court hikes sentences for convicted terrorists

Ontario's highest court has come down hard on convicted terrorists, dramatically hiking prison sentences for the first Canadians convicted of violent jihadist activities.

In a series of rulings released Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal said the scourge of terrorism necessitates demonstrating to would-be recruits that they will pay with their freedom.

It sentenced an Ottawa terrorist, Mohammed Momin Khawaja, to life in prison, and raised sentences for three key members of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist group.

One ringleader, Saad Khalid, saw his 14-year sentence elevated to 20 years, while another member, Zakaria Amara – described as the mastermind of the plot to bomb the CN Tower, CSIS headquarters and a military base – failed in a bid to have his life sentence reduced.

“He knew full well that hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people would die or be gravely injured if everything went according to his plan,” said Mr. Justice David Doherty, Mr. Justice Michael Moldaver and Madam Justice Eleanore Cronk.

“Indeed, a strong argument can be made that widespread carnage was precisely the outcome that he intended.”

A third member of the Toronto 18, Saad Gaya, had his sentence raised from an equivalent of 12 years to 18 years – and the court said that Mr. Gaya was lucky his sentence wasn't hiked to 25 years.

The court acknowledged Mr. Gaya may not have known in advance where he would be driving a truckload of explosives to, but that did little to reduce his culpability.

“Like Khalid, the respondent played an essential role in a scheme which, if implemented, would have killed countless people and left the entire country changed very much for the worse,” the court said.

In two more rulings, the court ordered the extradition of two alleged Sri Lankan terrorists to the United States.

I would loved to have had the opportunity to see Khawaja's face when he was advised that his sentenced was being increased to Life plus 24 years. He was demanding immediate release because he had already served 7 of his 10.t year prison sentence. He'll rot in supermax.
Changing sentences, after the fact, sets a terrible precedent. Fortunately it is not the US doing this, because it would be unconstitutional.

While I have no sympathy for these creeps, it is what it represents to others that I disagree. If this can be done to real terrorists, it can also be done to 'so called' terrorists, which the State may label.

Sorry, but this sounds great, but is terrible law IMO.
An interesting country indeed.... I guess you can have two-week detention for disorderly conduct elevated into a life sentence ....

I think uncle Joe practiced something like this too. :lol:
John L Wrote:Changing sentences, after the fact, sets a terrible precedent. Fortunately it is not the US doing this, because it would be unconstitutional.

While I have no sympathy for these creeps, it is what it represents to others that I disagree. If this can be done to real terrorists, it can also be done to 'so called' terrorists, which the State may label.

Sorry, but this sounds great, but is terrible law IMO.


Criminals are warned by their lawyers before they appeal it could backfire; in this case it did.
What are the resentencing rules exactly?

Are you saying that resentencing may happen only if the convicted appeals or asks to review the sentence? -- if yes, I think this is fair.
The offender in my case is appealing the conviction and the sentence. What does that mean?

In Canada, anyone found guilty of breaking the law may ask a higher court to review what happened at the trial. This is called an appeal. An offender may file an appeal against the conviction and/or the sentence. The Crown may also appeal against an acquittal or a sentence but, generally speaking, the Crown's right to appeal is much more restricted than that of the offender.

In which court will the appeal be heard?

The court will be different depending on the type of crime. Cases that usually have less serious penalties are called "summary conviction offences." These cases are appealed to the Superior Court of Justice, and are heard before a judge of that court in the community where the trial was conducted.

Cases that usually have more serious maximum penalties, such as murder, are called "indictable offences", and are appealed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, which usually sits at Osgoode Hall, 130 Queen St. West, Toronto.

What happens when there is an appeal against a conviction?

The appeal court will look to see if the trial was conducted properly. This means that the court will consider, for example, whether the trial was fair or whether there were any significant errors made during the trial. The appeal court may also look at what happened during the trial to see that there is sufficient evidence to support the conviction.

Can the Crown appeal an acquittal or a sentence?

The Crown may appeal an acquittal, but the Crown's right to appeal is not as broad as the accused's right to appeal and is very limited. The Crown must show there was a significant error of law. An example of an error of law may occur when important evidence is wrongly excluded at the trial. The Crown may also appeal the sentence but such appeals are also very limited because appeal courts will not usually interfere with the trial judge's decision on sentencing.

What happens when there is an appeal against the sentence?


When asked to review the sentence, the appeal court will consider whether or not the sentence is fair. The appeal court will look at the nature of the crime, the impact of the crime on the victim, the background of the offender and the sentences imposed in similar cases.

What is a hearing?

After the transcripts of the trial are available and an appeal book and factum are prepared, the court of appeal will set a date to hear the appeal. The appeal court will listen to oral arguments of the appellant and the respondent. This is called a hearing.

What kind of decisions can be made by an appeal court?

1. Dismissal
If the appeal court finds that the trial was properly conducted, and the evidence supports the conviction, the court may dismiss the appeal.If the appeal court finds that an error was not significant, the appeal court may dismiss the appeal even though there was an error.The appeal court may dismiss an appeal against a sentence if the court is satisfied that the sentence fits the crime.
2. New trial ordered
The appeal court may set aside the conviction and order a new trial if it finds that the trial was not fairly or properly conducted.The appeal court may set aside the acquittal and order a new trial where there is a significant error of law.
3. Substitute a verdict of guilt
In a small number of cases, the appeal court may overturn an acquittal, find the offender guilty of an offence and then sentence the offender. This power to substitute a verdict of guilt is only available when the offender has been tried by a judge sitting without a jury. Where a jury has acquitted the accused, the appeal court's powers are limited to ordering a new trial.
4. Acquittal
If the evidence does not support the conviction, the appeal court may find the offender not guilty of the charge.
5. Vary the sentence
The appeal court may change the sentence and either increase or lower the sentence, or remove or add penalties (such as a fine or probation).

When will the appeal be heard?

The length of time varies with each case. The appeal court must have the trial transcripts, and a record of what happened at the trial including the appeal book. The appellant and the respondent must also file written arguments on the evidence and the law. In rare cases there may also be a need for further police investigation if new evidence is brought forward.

May I attend the hearing?

Anyone can attend appeal hearings, including victims of crime and their families. Victims may wish to bring a friend or family member to court for emotional support.

Does the offender attend the hearing?

In the case of a solicitor appeal, an offender who is in custody does not usually attend the appeal. In the case of inmate appeals, the offender usually attends and argues his/her own appeal.

Will the offender remain in custody before the appeal is heard?


A jail sentence continues even if an offender brings an appeal against the conviction and/or the sentence. However, the offender may ask to be released from custody until the appeal is heard. If they are released on bail, they will be subject to conditions of the court that may include, for example, having no contact with the victim. The offender may be required to return to jail the day before the hearing of the appeal.

A hearing is held when an application is brought by an offender to be released prior to the appeal. If the offender is released, and the case involved serious personal injury or trauma, you will be notified either through the office of Crown Attorney who tried the case, the police force, or both.

Does the appeal court hear evidence?

The role of the appeal court is not to hear the trial again. Witnesses are generally not called in an appeal hearing and you are not required to testify. However, in some limited cases, the appeal court may consider new evidence if it is very significant.
OK... this makes sense, and is in fact a good setup: it likely stops excessive appeals that plague the US system.

(on an aside: when the grades I give are appealed I always warn that the appeal may result in a lower grade and will lower the grade if I can find a cause. Doing this cuts down on unfounded appealing quite well.)

All you guys need is a death penalty. Wink1
WarBicycle Wrote:I would loved to have had the opportunity to see Khawaja's face when he was advised that his sentenced was being increased to Life plus 24 years.
what exactly does that mean? that after his death, his cadaver will be a further 24 years in a prison cell?
Unfortunately, most of the people who would be subject to the death penalty can't afford competent legal representation. I would support the death penalty if the accused were given the same funds the Crown has to prove guilt.
I still don't like this practice. If they can do this with convicted terrorists, how long before someone abuses the privilege?
WarBicycle Wrote:Unfortunately, most of the people who would be subject to the death penalty can't afford competent legal representation. I would support the death penalty if the accused were given the same funds the Crown has to prove guilt.

Totally unnecessary waste of money.

Access to equal (or any) funds still does not guarantee justice. More efficient and cheaper would be to make the judge and/or jury personally liable for wrong verdicts. Wink1
I think it is only to be expected for there to be a possibility that an appeal could result in a review that could go either way or a whole range of ways--from throwing out the guilty verdict to adding to the punishment.

It happened to the Apostle Paul when he "appealed to Caesar." One of the authorities commented that he would have been freed already, if he had not exercised his right as a Roman citizen to appeal to Caesar. (Acts 26:32.) Paul eventually wound up being executed in Rome.
quadrat Wrote:
WarBicycle Wrote:I would loved to have had the opportunity to see Khawaja's face when he was advised that his sentenced was being increased to Life plus 24 years.
what exactly does that mean? that after his death, his cadaver will be a further 24 years in a prison cell?

It was a concurrent sentence. Life usually means they have to serve 25 years before being eligible for parole; however, there is a faint hope clause which allows convicts to apply for parole after serving 18 years. Because he is serving a double concurrent sentence means he may never be released.