Jury reaches verdict for one of two Via terror suspects

Verdict reached on one of the men accused in an alleged terror plot to derail a passenger train travelling from New York to Toronto; impasse on other

Courtesy of CTV

Courtesy of CTV

TORONTO – A Toronto jury says it has unanimously reached a verdict for one of two men accused in an alleged terror plot to derail a passenger train travelling from New York to Toronto.

However, the 12-member jury says it is at an impasse on some of the counts against the co-accused in the case and has asked for guidance from the judge.

Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier were arrested in 2013 following an investigation into the alleged plot that involved an undercover FBI agent.

Both men are charged with two counts of conspiracy and two counts of participating in or contributing to a terrorist group. Esseghaier is also facing a fifth terror-related charge.

The jury was careful not to reveal which of the two men it had reached a unanimous verdict for, and also did not reveal how many charges it was unable to come to a decision on.

Justice Michael Code, who has been presiding over the case, asked the jury to “please try once again to reach a verdict.”

“This is a time for each of you to reflect further on the evidence to see whether, by carefully considering the various positions and listening to each other, you can come to an agreement and render a unanimous verdict,” he said.

The trial heard hours of secretly recorded conversations between Jaser, Esseghaier and the undercover FBI agent in which they discussed plans to allegedly create a hole in a railway bridge outside Toronto to derail a passenger train and cause the deaths of scores of people.

Jaser eventually dropped out of the alleged plot while Esseghaier continued to pursue it.

Crown prosecutors have argued the two men made up an alleged terrorist group operating in Canada, and suggested the jury find both men guilty based on the “overwhelming” evidence against them.

Esseghaier did not defend himself at his trial but did give the jury a written closing statement in which he offered his “sincere advice” to the panel, urging them to apply the Qur’an to every aspect of their life.