Mr Big Operation: Quebec judge rules statements admissible at terrorism-related trial

Mr Big Operation: Quebec judge rules statements admissible at terrorism-related trial

MONTREAL — A judge has ruled that statements made by a Quebec man during an elaborate RCMP sting are admissible at his trial on terrorism-related charges.

Ismael Habib, 29, is accused of wanting to join up with the Islamic State in Syria.

His lawyer had argued that 22 elaborate scenarios hatched by federal authorities constituted a Mr. Big operation.

Canada’s highest court ruled in 2014 that such operations tend to produce unreliable evidence because of threats and are acceptable only under strict guidelines.

But Quebec Court judge Serge Delisle ruled today there was no coercion by police in obtaining Habib’s statements.

The RCMP operation involved a fictitious crime organization that pretended it could make counterfeit passports and smuggle people out of Canada. Habib’s trial has heard he expressed his wish to travel to Syria and join up with the Islamic State.

Delisle ruled that while the RCMP did use a modified Mr. Big scenario, there was nothing in the evidence to suggest Habib said or did anything he didn’t want to.

In addition to a charge of attempting to leave the country to participate in the activities of a terrorist group, he is also charged with giving false information in an effort to obtain a passport.

The trial is taking place before judge alone.

The Canadian Press
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