Saturday, December 18, 2010

Well, Hallelujah!!!

The Ontario Appeals court makes a sane - and groundbreaking - decision, and some of our media does a good job of reporting it (emphasis mine). 

From the Globe and Mail:

Ontario court sends tough message on terrorism
"Ontario’s highest court has shown that it was serious about curbing homegrown terrorism, dramatically increasing prison sentences for a collection of jihadists who were plotting terrorist attacks.

In a series of groundbreaking decisions Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal sent two men to prison for life and hammered home a message that terrorism is very much alive on Canadian soil. It said that harsh sentences are vital to deter misguided individuals from throwing in their lot with terrorists."
How refreshing! The leftards among us will be howling. After all, it's supposed to only be those paranoid right-wingers who take the threat of home grown terrorism seriously, and here we have the court agreeing with us.
"Ottawa terrorist Mohammed Momin Khawaja was one of those imprisoned for life, as well as being given a 24-year concurrent sentence, partly in recognition of his refusal to relinquish his diehard beliefs.

“He was obsessed with the cause, fanatic in his determination to establish Islamic dominance seemingly at any cost, and eager to assist in bringing about the destruction of Western culture and civilization,” the judges said.

Saad Khalid, a member of the so-called Toronto 18 who masterminded a plot to bomb the CN Tower, CSIS headquarters and a military base, saw his 14-year sentence elevated to 20 years. One of his confederates, Zakaria Amara, failed in a bid to have a life sentence imposed at his trial reduced."
"A third member of the Toronto 18, Saad Gaya, saw his sentence raised from an equivalent of 12 years to 18 years. The court flatly rejected his plea for leniency based on his not having known in advance where he would be delivering a truckload of explosives."
"In two other rulings Friday, the court ordered the extradition of two Sri Lankan terror suspects to the United States. The men – Piratheepan Nadarajah and Suresh Sriskandarajah – face trial for allegedly assisting the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam to purchase surface-to-air missiles and AK-47s from an undercover police officer in Long Island, New York.

The judges rejected arguments that the charges against them were unconstitutional since the pair were unaware specifically which terrorist acts they were contributing to.

“Parliament had ample evidence before it, indicating that sophisticated terrorist operations depended on the existence and functioning of discrete units, each of which engaged in various acts intended to facilitate and culminate in the kind of mass murder that has become all too commonplace,” the court said."
Indeed! Just a few short days after the terror visited upon Sweden.
"The court also rejected arguments that key sections of the federal anti-terrorism act should be found unconstitutional because they allow the Crown to furnish evidence of a defendant's motives."
"The Court of Appeal cautioned that, in deciding whom to investigate and searching for evidence of motives, authorities must take great care not to fall back on racial and religious stereotypes.

“This kind of state conduct is not only unacceptable, it is unconstitutional,” it said. “There is, however, no evidence of any connection between these abuses and the motive clause.”

It also emphasized that the promotion and facilitation of violence is the last thing the Charter of Rights was intended to shelter.

Violent activity, even though it conveys a meaning, is excluded because violence is destructive of the very values that underlie the right to freedom of expression and that make this right so central to both individual fulfilment (sic) and the functioning of a free and democratic society,” it said."
And also, in the Globe and Mail, Christie Blatchford reports,
"...this young country just did a whole lot of growing up.

In a series of six linked decisions, the highest court in the province dramatically upped the sentences for three convicted Canadian terrorists (to life in prison, in the case of Ottawa’s Momin Khawaja) and urged judges to ditch their “business as usual” approach with terrorists.

More than that, the decisions in total reflect a hardnosed realpolitik remarkable in a country where sentences rarely match the judicial thunder that often precedes them.

Terrorism, in our view, is in a special category of crime and must be treated as such,” Justices David Doherty, Michael Moldaver and Eleanore Cronk wrote in the Khawaja case.

With terrorism offences, they said, “sentences exceeding 20 years, up to and including life imprisonment, should not be viewed as exceptional.

That may not be the traditional approach to sentencing,” the court said, “but it is the approach we believe must be taken to repudiate and deter terrorism and denounce it for the insidious crime it is.”

The judges noted that though Canada’s “sentencing and correctional philosophy also places a premium on the notion of individual dignity and it accepts redemption and rehabilitation as desired and achievable goals,” these hallmarks of the justice system “may be seen by those who reject democracy and individual freedom as signs of weakness.

“Terrorists, in particular, may view Canada as an attractive place from which to pursue their heinous activities.

And it is up to the courts to shut the door on that way of thinking, swiftly and surely.

The panel found that in sentencing Mr. Khawaja, the first person tried in Ontario on terrorism charges, the trial judge had imposed a “manifestly unfit” sentence of 10 and a half years by failing to consider three key factors – the special danger terrorism poses to Canadian society; the threat Mr. Khawaja himself poses and “the need for the sentence imposed to send a clear message to would-be terrorists that Canada is not a safe haven ...

The judges’ message to the lower courts was unmistakable: There is a “need to let would-be terrorists know that they will pay a heavy price if they choose to pursue their deadly activities in Canada.”
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah!!!
"Mr. Khawaja’s lawyers had argued that the goal that motivated him to develop a detonator he called the “Hi-Fi Digimonster” and to enthusiastically embrace violent jihad was “to kill Western soldiers in Afghanistan and local troops that support them, not innocent civilians” and that his punishment should be mitigated accordingly.

The judges smacked that argument away. Mr. Khawaja’s “own writings belie” it, they said. “Beyond that, we reject outright the notion that the lives of soldiers serving in Afghanistan should be somehow treated as ‘less worthy’ of protection when fashioning sentences…”"
Wow. Just wow. I hope that's it for these cases and there are no further appeals.

And three cheers to the Globe and Mail for allowing comments on both those stories, unlike the chicken-shit politically correct CBC.

Same story from other media outlets:

The Canadian Press provides a concise summary - and allows comments.

The Toronto Sun gives a summary as well, as do The National Post, the BBC and the Washington Post. All told, though, the Globe and Mail has outdone itself and most of its major competitors.  Well done, Canadian media and well done to the appeals court of Ontario.

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Blogger Dave in Pa. said...

It's not over until the Fat Lady (or "progressive" "jurist") sings the final notes.

We'll see how long a sentence is actually imposed when all these legends-in-their-own-minds liberal grandees on the bench have had their say. And how long time served before the revolving doors open.

Personally, I think the ringleaders should get life-without-parole and the rest get life and not be even eligible for consideration for parole until they're old and gray and physically incapable for the Jihadi lifestyle, or should I say deathstyle.

December 18, 2010 11:51 am  
Blogger Louise said...

I don't know enough about Canadian law and the court system, but I do hope this decision will be considered a precedent in other provinces too. After all, it was a provincial court, not the federal court, so it's jurisdiction, I presume, is confined to Ontario. Hopefully, its rulings can be considered applicable country-wide.

It's good to know that the jihadi types are being monitored, tho, and that we're not afraid to ship them off to the US, if there's an extradition order.

December 18, 2010 3:01 pm  

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