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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Offences in relation to terrorism

Thursday, February 13, 2020 @ 9:12 AM  

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Appeal by the Crown from the acquittal of the respondent on several charges of committing indictable offences for the benefit of a terrorist group. The respondent attacked three members of the Canadian Forces at a local recruiting centre with a knife. Two psychiatrists agreed the respondent suffered from schizophrenia, which rendered him incapable of knowing his conduct was morally wrong. The trial judge found the respondent not criminally responsible for the underlying indictable offences. The parties agreed the respondent was his own terrorist group and was not a member of any listed entity or terrorist group.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in concluding s. 83.2 of the Criminal Code did not capture an individual who committed an indictable offence alone in pursuit of his own personal terrorist agenda. The respondent could not, at one and the same time, commit an offence and be the sole member of a terrorist group for which the offence was committed. The suggestion that the principal and the terrorist group might be one and the same person was inconsistent with the modern principles of statutory interpretation. The principal focus of s. 83.2 of the Code was associative activity. The purpose of the legislation was not furthered where the principal and group were one and the same. It was a reasonable inference that Parliament did not intend that s. 83.2 applied to lone wolf terrorists such as the respondent.

R. v. Ali, [2019] O.J. No. 6435, Ontario Court of Appeal, D. Watt, M.H. Tulloch and P.D. Lauwers JJ.A., December 20, 2019. Digest No. TLD-February102020013