POLITICS

Case postponed for Montreal man RCMP says it fears will commit terrorism offence

02/26/2015 11:24 EST | Updated 04/28/2015 05:59 EDT
MONTREAL - The case of a Montreal man who the RCMP says it fears will commit a terrorism offence has been postponed until next month.

Merouane Ghalmi, an amateur kick boxer, was dressed casually and sported a short beard during a brief court appearance Thursday.

A summons was issued Monday for Ghalmi, 22, requiring him to appear before a Quebec Court judge to sign a peace bond.

No document was signed as the case was postponed to allow Ghalmi's lawyer more time to review the evidence.

Ghalmi has not been charged with any offence. It is not known why the Mounties say they are concerned about him because the contents of a sworn affidavit have been sealed.

The summons reads: "Because of the motives mentioned in the affidavit, (the RCMP investigator) has reasons to believe that Ghalmi will commit a terrorist offence."

Federal Crown attorney Lyne Decarie said the affidavit will not be made public.

"We want him to respect certain conditions ... and at the next date it's set for hearing and we'll see what kind of conditions," Decarie told reporters.

Neither Ghalmi nor his lawyer, Mathieu Bedard, would speak with reporters as they left the courtroom.

Jamie McGowan, a Montreal promoter, who first met Ghalmi a couple of years ago, described him as an amateur kick boxer.

"He did a couple of kick-boxing matches over a one-year period," McGowan told The Canadian Press.

"He only did a few matches and then he stopped training and he was focusing on school."

"As far as I could tell he was a very nice kid, super-nice kid, very respectful and trained very hard," McGowan said in a phone interview.

He added that Ghalmi had a lot of talent as a athlete and everyone was surprised when he quit training.

The 44-year-old McGowan, a mixed martial arts and kick-boxing promoter for about eight years, said he was "a little surprised" when Ghalmi showed up in the news.

The Conservative government introduced an anti-terrorism bill last month that would make it easier for the RCMP to obtain a peace bond.

Existing law requires a fear that someone "will commit'' a terrorism offence before police can obtain a peace bond _ a tool that can mean jail unless a suspect abides by strict conditions, for instance that they surrender their passport and regularly report to police.

A new, lower threshold would be reasonable grounds to fear a person "may commit'' a terrorism offence.

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada says the federal government has used peace bonds in terrorism-related matters fewer than ten times.

Ghalmi will be back in court on March 27.