POLITICS

Aaron Driver, Winnipeg Man, Suspected Of Terrorism Says His Charter Rights Were Violated

06/30/2015 12:42 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE - This undated file image posted on a militant website on Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now called the Islamic State group, marching in Raqqa, Syria. When Islamic State fighters routed Syrian government forces and took control of the ruins of Palmyra Thursday, May 21, 2015 morning, the ancient city became the latest archaeological heritage site to fall into the hands of the militant group. (Militant Website via AP, File)
WINNIPEG - The lawyer for a Winnipeg man who faces no criminal charges but is suspected of planning terrorist activities has launched a challenge under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Leonard Tailleur said Tuesday that the attempt by federal authorities to obtain a peace bond requiring Aaron Driver to wear an electronic-monitoring bracelet and submit to other restrictions goes too far.

"It's highly constraintive of his mobility rights. He should be able to go here, there, everywhere," Tailleur said outside court Tuesday.

"A (monitoring) device is usually used for known criminals, individuals who have long criminal records, individuals that have been part of the criminal justice system. He has no criminal record."

Driver, 23, has not been accused of any crime, but federal authorities want to limit his activities on the suspicion that he might help or engage in terrorist activities.

Published reports have said Driver posted messages on social media that praised terrorist activities, including the attack last October on Parliament Hill by Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

Amarnath Amarasingam, a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University who studies radicalization and terrorism, said earlier that Driver posted for several months on social media about disliking Canada and about a desire to move overseas.

Crown attorney Ian Mahon declined an interview request Tuesday.

Tailleur said Driver poses no threat to the public.

"He's never done anything except state things. He's used his voice to state things that maybe we don't like, but a threat? He said himself he's not a threat."

Peace bonds allow authorities to impose a wide range of restrictions on individuals, with a judge's approval, even if they don't face criminal charges. Neither the Crown nor the defence has revealed what restrictions are being sought in Driver's case, other than electronic monitoring.

Court documents filed by Tailleur on Tuesday allege the Crown's wishes would violate Driver's charter rights to freedom of mobility, freedom of association and freedom from arbitrary detention.

No date has been set for the peace bond hearing. Driver was released on bail Tuesday after being re-arrested last Friday, when a woman who was housing him withdrew her financial support.

His bail conditions require him to stay within Winnipeg, possess no computers, own no objects with Islamic State logos or slogans and avoid social media.

Unlike in his initial bail plan, Driver is no longer being told to undergo religious counselling — a move that had upset some human rights advocates. He also no longer has a curfew.

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