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CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES - Offences against person and reputation - Kidnapping, hostage taking and abduction - Hostage taking

Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 12:59 PM  

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Trial of Ader, charged with unlawfully taking Lindhout hostage in Somalia and conveying threats to kill her with the intention of inducing any other person or government to pay a ransom, contrary to s. 279.1(2) of the Criminal Code. Lindhout was a Canadian citizen and a freelance journalist. Brennan was an Australian citizen and a photographer. In August 2008, Lindhout and Brennan travelled to Somalia, intending to report on the conditions in displaced persons camps near Mogadishu, Somalia. They were taken hostage by an unidentified group of gunmen and were held in deplorable, terrifying conditions for almost 15 months until their release in November 2009. The RCMP, through Lindhout’s mother, began a negotiation process with Ader, who communicated ransom demands and threats to harm Lindhout if the ransom of $2 million was not paid to the hostage takers. Lindhout’s mother’s communications with Ader were intercepted by the RCMP. Following the release of the hostages, Ader communicated with an undercover agent over a number of years until Ader was arrested in Canada in June 2015. The Crown took the position that Ader was a party to the hostage taking and that he aided the hostage takers in return for monetary gain and was paid $10,000 for his assistance. Ader did not deny that he acted as the negotiator and translator for the hostage takers, but he submitted that he had a valid defence because he was acting under duress.

HELD: Ader convicted. Ader’s evidence was not in harmony with the preponderance of probabilities to a practical and informed person. It was not believable and did not raise a reasonable doubt. Ader’s role as a willing participant in the hostage taking was consistent with his admissions to the undercover agent and his defence of duress was not supported by any of the recorded conversations. The Crown established beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no implicit or explicit threat of present or future death or bodily harm to Ader or to members of his family. He aided the hostage takers, which made him a party to the offence of the hostage taking of Lindhout.

R. v. Ader, [2017] O.J. No. 6432, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, R.J. Smith J., December 6, 2017. Digest No. TLD-January152018001