NEWS

Montreal Terror Charges: Teen Allegedly Committed Robbery To Help Terrorist Group

01/28/2015 10:31 EST | Updated 03/30/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - A Montreal teenager facing two terrorism-related charges linked to a robbery will have a trial date set next month.

The 15-year-old appeared Wednesday in youth court, where his lawyer was granted a request to postpone proceedings until Feb. 16.

Federal prosecutors allege he committed a robbery for the benefit of an unspecified terrorist organization. Authorities also say the adolescent is charged with planning to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group abroad.

Waring grey sweat pants and a black-and-grey hoodie, the accused listened quietly as he sat between two guards. His lawyer said his parents were not present because they knew the postponement was coming.

The adolescent will remain detained until the next court appearance.

The teen pleaded guilty to a separate robbery charge in November and was to have a sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Instead, provincial Crown prosecutor Marie Vauclair told the court a psychiatric report would remain shelved and that a sentence will be rendered only when the federal matter is resolved.

"For now, the facts of the case are inseparable," Vauclair said outside the courtroom.

The RCMP announced the terrorism charges last December and declined to provide any other information about the case pending the ongoing proceedings.

A spokeswoman for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada said the teen boy's arrest marks the first time a minor has been charged with trying to leave Canada to commit a terrorist offence since the Criminal Code was amended in 2013.

A federal prosecutor who was also present Wednesday told the court she's considering seeking an adult sentence.

"I advised my colleague in court that I'm presently considering an application ... and that I would advise the court at the next court date," Lyne Decarie told reporters.

According to the Criminal Code, being convicted for committing an offence on behalf of a terrorist group carries a maximum life sentence.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the maximum sentence is three years.

The RCMP has been cracking down on people allegedly trying to go abroad to participate in jihadist activities. One of three men arrested in Ottawa this month allegedly was seeking to leave the country to take part in terrorism.

The Harper government is about to introduce new laws which the prime minister says are designed to help authorities stop planned attacks and prevent terrorists from travelling and recruiting others.

The overhaul of the terror legislation is in response to the October 2014 attacks in which two soldiers — one at the National War Memorial and the other in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. — were killed in broad daylight.

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