Court sketches of Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser. (Photo: CP)Esseghaier and his co-accused, Raed Jaser, were found guilty last March on a total of eight terror-related charges between them. They were sentenced to life in prison in late September, with no chance of parole until 2023. Jaser is also appealing his conviction.
Courtroom sketch of Raed Jaser, who is also appealing his terrorism conviction. (Photo: CP)He refused a lawyer and represented himself throughout his trial, often went on rambling rants in the courtroom and even prayed in the prisoner's dock on occasion. His mental state became an issue during the sentencing phase of the trial after two psychiatric assessments found he was likely schizophrenic — findings he vigorously disagreed with — although one of the psychiatrists who assessed him found he was still fit to be sentenced. A court-appointed lawyer ordered to assist Esseghaier asked Code to postpone sentencing until it could be determined if Esseghaier could be hospitalized and treated, but Code refused, saying there was "no causal link'' between Esseghaier's mental state during sentencing and his behaviour at the time of the offences.
The scene outside Old City Hall court as Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier appear for a bail hearing on Tuesday April 23, 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)The same court-appointed lawyer helped Esseghaier complete his notice of appeal, and noted for the appeal court that the man is "severely mentally ill." During Esseghaier and Jaser's trial, a jury heard that an undercover FBI agent gained the men's trust and surreptitiously recorded their conversations, which made up the bulk of the evidence in the case. The two were recorded speaking about terror plots they would conduct in retaliation for Canada's military actions in Muslim countries, including the derailment of a Via Rail train travelling between New York and Toronto.