Judge expected to render verdict in Quebec teen’s terrorism case on Dec. 17

Judge expected to render verdict in Quebec teen’s terrorism case on Dec. 17

Main pic: Flag of the Islamic State (IS), also known as “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) or “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL). This flag is also used by al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and Boko Haram. Pic credit: Yo.

MONTREAL — A Montreal teenager who faces two terrorism−related charges will find out his fate in December.

The case of the 16−year−old wrapped up Tuesday with both the Crown and defence delivering final remarks.

The teenager, who cannot be named because he is a minor, faces two charges: committing a robbery in association with a terrorist organization and planning to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group abroad.

The case stems from a convenience store robbery in October 2014 the Crown has suggested was linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and was committed to finance a trip to allow him to travel to Syria.

Youth court Judge Dominique Wilhelmy told lawyers Tuesday she will take time to deliberate and hopes to hand down a written decision on Dec. 17.

The teen’s lawyer has disputed the Crown’s case, saying the evidence only suggests his client wanted to go to Syria to help fellow Muslims by fighting Bashar Assad’s regime.

He has described his client as a young man who was engulfed by jihadist propaganda over about two years.

“He shouldn’t be considered a criminal, but a victim,” said defence lawyer Tiago Murias.

His client told investigators the robbery money was “war booty”, but Murias said the boy’s moral justification does not necessarily amount to a motive — what pushed him to commit a crime.

The teen did not take the stand, but Murias repeatedly suggested the evidence present did not support the terrorism charges or establish that his client was ready to join ISIL.

Murias noted that ascribing a deeper meaning to a confused 15−year−old’s musings and online activity goes further than what the evidence suggests.

The Montreal teen has pleaded guilty to the armed robbery of the convenience store.

The Crown argued the teen, who also engaged in Twitter conversations with jihadist sympathizer Martin Couture−Rouleau, demonstrated he was determined to get to Syria.

Murias said his client chatted with him but had no knowledge that Couture−Rouleau would kill a Canadian Forces soldier and injure another near Montreal last October.

Earlier in 2014, he’d attempted to purchase a one−way plane ticket to Gaziantep, Turkey, using a stolen credit card number from his parents. The attempt failed after the bank flagged and cancelled the $2,400 purchase.

Prosecutor Lyne Decarie pointed to the accused’s words to his father after the latter had confiscated the convenience store loot.

The teen told his father to return the money and that he would be gone forever.

“We see what his goal was all along,” she said.

− Follow @sidhartha_b on Twitter.

Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press

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