*** The Prosecutor is WRONG, WRONG, WRONG about my friend Steven Chand. He NEVER once expressed hatred or bias against non Muslims. He NEVER once expressed any desire to undertake violent jihad. They are totally WRONG to be doing what they have done - I know Steven better than anyone in that courtroom and all these descriptions against hime are FALSE. MS ***
A man convicted of trying to fundraise for the “Toronto 18″ terrorist group was motivated by “bias or hatred” toward non-Muslims, a Superior Court judge heard this morning.
Steven Chand, 29, was found guilty in June of participating in the homegrown terror cell and counselling the commission of fraud for its benefit. The group planned to storm Parliament and detonate powerful trucks bombs in downtown Toronto as a protest against Canada’s mission in Afghanistan, but authorities foiled the plot before it came to fruition.
During Chand’s sentencing hearing in a Brampton courthouse today, Crown attorney Sarah Shaikh highlighted his significant level of participation in the terrorist group — particularly, Chand’s help in training recruits at a 2005 winter camp in Washago, Ont.
“He was a trainer at Washago … He was not a [mere] recruit,” Ms. Shaikh said, noting Chand listened to ringleader Fahim Ahmad’s “jihadi rants” and was well aware of the camp’s terrorist purposes. Chand also encouraged the group to acquire weapons, she noted; at one point, he attempted to enlist an outsider to facilitate a moneymaking scheme, leading to the fraud charge.
“Chand’s actions were motivated by a bias or hatred toward non-believers,” Ms. Shaikh said.
The Crown is calling for a total sentence of 8 to 8.5 years, while the defence is asking for 6 to 8. Justice Fletcher Dawson has repeatedly expressed reservations about the proposed length of sentence, suggesting it may be too low.
The participation offence carries a maximum 10-year sentence, while the fraud offence carries a maximum term of life imprisonment.
Defence lawyer Michael Moon will make his submissions this afternoon.
Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/2010/09/07/crown-wants-8-year-sentence-for-toronto-18s-steven-chand/#ixzz0ysMaF5SF