Islamists Behind Plot to Derail VIA Train Granted New Trial

Islamists Behind Plot to Derail VIA Train Granted New Trial

Ontario's highest court has ordered a new trial for two men found guilty of terrorism charges in connection with a plot to derail a passenger train.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario says the jury that convicted Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier was improperly selected, which means its verdict cannot stand.

Jaser and Esseghaier were found guilty in 2015 on a total of eight terror-related charges between them. They were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2023.

Lawyers for Jaser argued the trial judge mistakenly rejected their client's request regarding the method of jury selection.

The lawyer appointed to assist Esseghaier, who continues to be self-represented, agreed in written arguments that a new trial must be ordered on that ground. 

The law regarding jury selection was in flux during the trial but the appeal court says the approach used by the judge has since been deemed wrong. Several other cases have been overturned due to similar errors in recent years.

Jaser had also raised other grounds for appeal but the jury issue was heard first.

Both men also previously indicated they wished to challenge their sentences, but the call for a new trial makes that unnecessary.

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