By Michael Friscolanti - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
A court says undercover informants don’t have to warn young people not to get involved in terror plots
It has been almost seven years since police rounded up the so-called “Toronto 18,” thwarting a very real terrorist plot on Canadian soil. In time, the Crown and the courts separated the ringleaders from the stooges: charges were dropped against seven of the accused Muslims, while the other 11 were convicted and punished according to their level of guilt. Of the four core members who tried to detonate simultaneous truck bombs in downtown Toronto—a “spine-chilling” plot, as one judge said—two are now serving life sentences.
But even after so many years, the courts are not quite finished sifting through Canada’s landmark anti-terror bust. The latest judgment comes from the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and although it won’t be the last, it does settle one contentious question that emerged at trial: if authorities are investigating a group of aspiring terrorists, and some turn out to be teenagers, do the police have a legal obligation to somehow warn the youth to be wary of the leaders?
The answer, says Ontario’s highest court, is an emphatic no. “To impose on the police an obligation to ensure that undercover operators infiltrating a potential terrorist camp be equipped with some sort of strategy to warn youth (who may or may not be present) of the potential error of their ways, is neither tenable nor realistic,” the court concluded. “The prospects of such a strategy subverting the investigation, and possibly endangering the safety of the operative, are limitless.” Continue…