Crown lacked morality in gaining evidence of terrorist ties: Defence

Ottawa's CSIS building.

Credits: File Photo.


TORONTO - Crown lawyers have lacked morality in their pursuit to maintain a security certificate issued against an Egyptian man because of alleged terrorist connections, his defence lawyer said on Friday.

Mohamed Mahjoub, 52, who has refugee status in Canada, has been imprisoned or under house arrest since 2000 in accordance with the issuing of a special security certificate by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The certificate, which is largely based on secret evidence and allows the detainment of someone even if no charges have been laid, was issued because the Canadian government has deemed the father of three a threat to national security, alleging he has terrorist connections in Egypt -- involvement with the militant group Vanguards of Conquest, as well as his being an employee with a farming project in Sudan for Osama Bin Ladin in the 1990s.

During Friday's closing arguments, defence lawyer Johanne Doyon, who wants he certificate against Mahjoub quashed, said CSIS and the Canadian government have insufficient evidence of terrorist ties, pointing to various setbacks prosecutors have suffered in proving their case against her client, who came to Canada in 1995 as a refugee escaping political prosecution in Egypt.

It was revealed last year that a significant chunk of information used by CSIS against Mahjoub came from foreign government agencies known for using torture.

Doyon called this unconstitutional, and accused prosecutors of lacking in morals by not excluding such evidence.

"They knew it ... (and) the Crown was ready to violate ... Mr. Mahjoub and the judicial system for its own means," Doyon said to Federal Court Justice Edmond Blanchard Friday, stressing Crown lawyers had developed "tunnel vision" in their prosecution of Mahjoub.

In June, Blanchard questioned summaries of wire-tapped Mahjoub conversations held between 1996 and 2001, because full records of the conversations had been destroyed. Blanchard at the time ruled this a violation of Mahjoub's Charter rights, and Doyon on Friday said the summaries should have not been allowed as evidence.

Doyon then turned to Mahjoub's alleged relationships with people possessing terrorist connections, saying conversations with those with possible links to criminal organizations does not mean that Mahjoub was involved. She added that working for Osama Bin Ladin does not equate to being involved with terrorism.

"This is guilt by association, which is something you should not allow (and) should prevent," Doyon said.

Mahjoud, currently under house arrest and wearing a tracking bracelet, told media outside court he'll a call for an inquiry into his 12-year detainment.

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