POLITICS

Explosives at airport: Montreal suspect gets a new lawyer, and a bail delay

10/29/2013 12:48 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
MONTREAL - A Montreal man accused of planning to carry bomb-making equipment onto an airplane has switched lawyers after one court appearance.

Antony Piazza was back in court for the second time Tuesday for what was to have been a bail hearing. Accompanied by a new lawyer, however, he requested that the hearing be postponed until next Wednesday.

There will be a publication ban, requested by the prosecution, for that hearing on Nov. 6. The judge has agreed that such a ban is necessary, amid the unfolding investigation.

Piazza, 71, faces three charges following an incident that paralyzed Montreal's airport over the weekend, then led police to block off the neighbourhood where he lives.

Prosecutor Alexandre Gauthier said asking for an order to keep the details of the case under wraps was a preventive tactic.

"The investigation is still ongoing — that's why I'm saying it's a sensitive matter," Gauthier said.

Some information was provided earlier this week by the lawyer who originally represented Piazza at his arraignment.

He confirmed to reporters outside the courtroom Monday that Piazza, a Canadian citizen, was born in Iran and that his original name was actually Houshang Nazemi.

He was convicted of heroin-trafficking under his original name in the 1980s.

The lawyer originally handling Piazza's case, Louis Morena, also said the suspicious package was carry-on luggage Piazza was carrying for someone else.

Police have said the luggage contained everything needed to make a bomb, minus the actual explosives.

The suspicious luggage was detected at a security checkpoint in the U.S. departures area of Trudeau airport early Sunday morning.

A handful of lawyers visited Piazza in lockup Tuesday before he chose a new lawyer, Franco Iezzoni.

Until the delay was granted, the Crown was ready to go ahead with a bail hearing on Tuesday and had two witnesses present.