*** 12 years total sentence, minus the 7 1/2 years credit for pre-trial custody giving him 4 1/2 years left with the option of parole as early as 2 years (discretionary not automatic). MS ***
BRAMPTON -- One of the "Toronto 18" conspirators was handed a 12-year sentence this morning for his participation in a plot to bomb several key targets in and around the city.
Saad Gaya, 21, showed little reaction as Justice Bruce Durno read out the sentence, but smiled slightly at supporters as he exited the courtroom.
In his decision, Judge Durno acknowledged Mr. Gaya did not play a leading role in the 2006 bomb plot.
"Saad Gaya was not the prime mover in the plan... he took detailed orders," the judge said.
With time served taken into account on a two-for-one basis, and a small amount of extra credit given for Gaya's 14 months in solitary confinement, he has 4-and-a-half years left to serve. Gaya will be eligible for parole after serving one-third of that time.
The Crown, which had been seeking a term of 17 to 18 years, has 30 days to file an appeal.
"We'll review the decision and read it carefully," Crown attorney Croft Michaelson said.
Defence lawyer Paul Slansky, who had been seeking a 10-year sentence, said he did not believe Gaya was given sufficient credit for his time in solitary.
"I'm less pleased than I might have been," Mr. Slansky said outside court. Gaya, who was born in Montreal to parents originally from Pakistan, told police after his arrest that the goal of the terrorist plot was to push Canadian troops out of Afghanistan, but said he did not know the bomb targets, which included the Toronto Stock Exchange, a CSIS facility and a military base.
Gaya admitted he tried to rent a house in which the group planned to store bomb-making chemicals, such as ammonium nitrate.
A number of Gaya's friends and family who attended court today declined to comment on the young man's sentence.
Zakaria Amara, the ringleader of the Toronto 18 plot, is to be sentenced this afternoon.