POLITICS

Bail hearing next week in Montreal airport explosives case

11/06/2013 11:44 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
MONTREAL - A Montreal man charged with trying to board an airplane with a suitcase containing explosive material will have a bail hearing next week.

At a court appearance Wednesday, the prosecution requested a delay until Nov. 12 and Antony Piazza's defense lawyer agreed. It was the second such delay since his arrest.

"The investigation is still ongoing and there is evidence that needs to be disclosed with the discovery process and we have to go through all the documentation we have," Crown prosecutor Alexandre Gautier told reporters outside the courtroom.

Piazza, 71, faces three charges in the wake of his arrest at Montreal's Trudeau airport last month, causing lengthy flight delays and eventually leading police to block off the area around his house.

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

A few details were made public by the lawyer who initially represented Piazza following his arrest.

That lawyer said Piazza was a Canadian citizen born in Iran, and that his original name was actually Houshang Nazemi.

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

While police and the Crown have remained mum on what exactly was found in Piazza's possession, the initial lawyer mentioned some items in the police report, including bullets, powder, wires and lighters.

The lawyer also told reporters outside the courtroom the police report indicated Piazza was transporting the carry-on luggage on behalf of another party.

Piazza has since changed lawyers.

He was trying to board a flight for the United States when the material was detected at a security checkpoint in the U.S. departures area of Trudeau airport.

He faces three charges — possession of an explosive substance; attempting to transport an explosive substance on an airplane; and mischief by endangering the safety of an airport or aircraft and disrupting activity at the airport.

His bail hearing is likely to be covered by a publication ban.

Lawyers told the judge on Wednesday that as many as five witnesses could be heard during the course of that day-long hearing.

Gautier said the Crown will oppose bail.

"The motives (for objecting) remain the same: to assure his presence in court, to protect the public, and to conserve the public's faith in the justice system," Gautier said.