Guilty verdict for would-be terrorist
Published Monday, June 19, 2017 12:25PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 19, 2017 8:05PM EDT
Ismael Habib has been found guilty of attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act.
The 29-year-old man from Gatineau faces up to ten years in prison, and is the first adult in Canada convicted under this charge.
In 2015, a 16-year-old Montrealer was convicted on the same charge. The next year, 25-year-old Carlos Larmond pled guilty to the charge in an Ontario court.
Crown prosecutor Lyne Decarie said she was "very satisfied" with the verdict but said she couldn't comment on the ramifications until she had time to fully read the judge's decision.
"I'm glad the judge came to this decision and declared him guilty," she said.
Habib's lawyer, Charles Montpetit, said his client has yet to make a decision on whether he will appeal the ruling.
"I feel a little disappointed for sure but we have to think over, read back the decision and discuss it with Mr. Habib and see what will be our position in the future," he said.
During his trial, Habib tried to have evidence against him dismissed by arguing that police tricked him into a confession, but the judge ruled Habib wasn't coerced into revealing incriminating information.
The case began in 2015 when Habib allegedly wanted to leave Canada to join ISIS in Syria.
He did not have a passport because it had been seized by authorities after a previous trip to Turkey.
The court heard that in an effort to obtain a fake passport, Habib was put in touch with a man who turned out to be an undercover RCMP officer.
Over a five-month period the officer led Habib to a fictitious crime boss who told him he could get him both a passport and a passage to Syria.
The officer testified Habib said he wanted to leave Canada for religious reasons and that his ultimate goal was to join the Islamic State and die for God and that he would do it at any cost.
The technique used by investigators is commonly called the "Mr. Big" operation and its use is severely limited by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Habib is facing a maximum of 10 years in prison but Montpetit said there are factors at play that could lead to a lesser sentence. He is scheduled to be sentenced in August.
"The judge mentioned in the decision he wasn't motivated to commit a crime here in Canada. Secondly, (the judge wrote) he wanted to go there, but he wanted to go there for two reasons - to reach his family and to participate in the Islamic State. The fact he didn't want to go only to participate in the Islamic State could be something considered by the court in regard to his sentence."
Habib was first detained in February 2016, when he was charged with threatening his girlfriend.