NEWS

P.E.I. Terrorism Case A 'Tragic Misunderstanding': Lawyer

04/20/2015 08:16 EDT | Updated 06/20/2015 05:59 EDT
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CHARLOTTETOWN - The RCMP began collecting the household garbage of a Prince Edward Island man in December 2013 because they allege he had the castor beans necessary to produce a "substantial quantity" of the deadly toxin ricin, court documents say.

A search warrant application filed with provincial court also says police acted on two separate complaints about Amir Raisolsadat, 20, in the summer of 2013 that were received by RCMP headquarters in Ottawa regarding alleged national security threats towards western countries.

The document, provided to The Canadian Press by the court, says a police investigation found several different online identities for Raisolsadat, including a Facebook account called "Chemical Weapon's Industries."

None of the allegations in the document have been proven in court. Raisolsadat's lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment after The Canadian Press obtained the document.

Raisolsadat was arrested last month after the RCMP applied for a peace bond under Section 810.01 of the Criminal Code. Information sworn in court indicates that the RCMP "fears on reasonable grounds" that he will commit a terrorism offence.

The university student from Stratford, P.E.I., was released on conditions, including that he remain in the province.

His case was in Charlottetown provincial court Monday when it was adjourned. Raisolsadat was not in court but he is now scheduled to appear on May 22 to determine whether he will agree to the conditions of a peace bond or challenge the information being used to seek it.

Defence lawyer Brandon Forbes, who appeared on Raisolsadat's behalf, said after the hearing that his client and his family have been subjected to anonymous threats on social media since his arrest.

"I think it's important to state on the record right now that my client has not been charged with a crime," Forbes said.

"This matter is a tragic misunderstanding. The tragedy being that now there is a family who has been subjected to a number of anonymous threats and also feels persecuted."

Forbes described the disclosure documents from the federal Crown as "voluminous."

In an application for the search warrant made by an RCMP constable, it says a photo on Raisolsadat's Facebook site shows him standing in front of a castor bean plant. It says another picture shows five castor bean seeds — which can be used to make ricin — placed in a row on a piece of paper.

The document says that police went to Raisolsadat's home on Aug. 16, 2013, and conducted an informal interview when the young man denied being involved with the various social media websites of concern to police.

"Amir denied wanting to harm anyone or damage Western Society. He further did not know of anyone who would want to harm or cause damage," the document states.

It says police began collecting Raisolsadat's household garbage in December 2013; and then, in early 2014, the RCMP allege they found documents with procedures for making calcium phosphide — described as an explosive compound — and a diagram of a small rocket with a section labelled "warhead."

"The warhead section appeared to be designed to deliver a chemical or biological agent," an officer wrote.

The application for the search warrant alleges police went into Raisolsadat's home covertly on April 29, 2014, and found an iPhone case with between 50 and 60 castor beans in it.

"Based on the information contained in this document, I believe that Amir Raisolsadat has the capability and intent to carry out a terrorist activity. I also believe that the results of the General Warrant show that Amir Raisolsadat has in his possession enough castor beans to produce a substantial quantity of ricin," the officer wrote.

A judge granted the search warrant.

In another court document, police say they seized 51 castor beans, 14 brown seeds, three suspected castor bean pods, two castor bean plants, computer hard drives, a number of smartphones, cellphones and SIM cards. The list also includes eight journals with drawings of explosions, bomb diagrams and chemical formulas.