10/24/2006

Removal of Clause from Anti-Terror Law:
A Fatal Mistake

This just in:
A key section of Canada's anti-terrorism legislation defining terrorism as an act committed for a political, ideological or religious purpose have been struck down as unconstitutional, but the prosecution against Mohammed Momin Khawaja, the man who challenged the law, can proceed...
"The matter will proceed to trial in January," said Federal Crown prosecutor David McKercher this morning following the ruling by Justice Douglas Rutherford that the offending portion of the law should simply be "severed" from the rest of the legislation. "It simply removes one element the Crown would otherwise have had to prove."
Khawaja's lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, was far less optimistic about the matter proceeding to trial by January, saying the ruling strikes to the core of the anti-terror law.
"I don't see how it could," he said. "Certainly it is our intention to challenge the remedy. Severence is not sufficient. These charges should be quashed. I anticipate the Crown will want to appeal."
However McKercher said for the Crown's part that an interlocutory appeal would be unusual and he said the appropriate time to file an appeal of the decision would normally be after Khawaja's trial...

The fact that the court decided to remove the clause regarding political, religious or ideological motivation shows an enormous degree of naivete. There is clearly no understanding of the nature of extremist behaviour or terrorism within the judicial community if this is what is allowed to happen. My fear is that we will all pay for this grave mistake.

1 comment:

Frank Hilliard said...

I agree with you absolutely; the motivation clause was central to the whole idea. It's terrorism, not just a crime, for exactly this reason. I've got more at this URL:

http://mesowest.blogspot.com/2006/10/more-on-terror-law-decision.html

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