Jury selection goes smoothly for trial of alleged would-be terrorists
Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 12, 2017 3:30PM EDT
Six men and eight women were selected Tuesday as jury members at the beginning of what is expected to be a long trial for two young people accused of terrorism-related offences.
El Mahdi Jamali, 20, and Sabrine Djermane, 21, were arrested in April 2015 and charged with four counts each of terrorism-related crimes: trying to leave Canada to join a terrorist organization; possession of explosive materials; facilitating the actions of a terrorist group; committing an act to profit a terrorist group.
Both have pleaded not guilty.
The court wants to make sure that jurors do not have preconceived notions about the pair, so prospects are being asked upfront if the fact the couple is Arabic and Muslim will affect their impartiality. Particular attention to race and religion was paid to the 150 candidates in the vetting process.
Some told the court they could not guarantee their impartiality and were eliminated from the jury.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc David also warned prospective jurors that the trial is expected to last ten weeks, which did present a problem for several individuals, however the selection of jurors went very quickly.
Of the 14 jurors selected, 12 will deliberate the case at the end of the trial.
The Crown has said it would call at least 31 witnesses during the trial, and said that much of the evidence to be presented is based on electronic surveillance of the pair.
In the months preceding the arrests of Jamali and Djermane, five other students at College de Maisonneuve left for the Middle East, presumably to join ISIS.
With files from Sidhartha Banerjee of The Canadian Press