05/16/2013 18:03 EDT | Updated 07/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Terrorism-related charges dropped against metro smoke-bomb suspects

The terrorism-related charges laid against four student activists accused of planting smoke bombs in the Montreal metro system in May 2012 have been dropped.

Three women and one man — Geneviève Vaillancourt, Roxane Bélisle, Vanessa Lécuyer and François Vivier-Gagnon —were charged a year ago with inciting fear of a terrorist act, a Canadian Criminal Code charge introduced in 2004 following the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

The four still face charges of mischief and conspiracy to commit mischief — acts which carry a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. François Vivier-Gagnon is also charged with possession of a prohibited weapon.

Their case will return to Quebec Superior Court on September 3.

The charges relate to May 10, 2012, when three smoke bombs exploded inside the metro system during the morning rush hour, paralyzing the underground public transit network for more than three hours.

The bombs were strategically placed on each line of the Montreal metro — in Préfontaine station on the green line, at Lionel-Groulx station, where the orange and green lines meet, and at Jean-Talon station, where the blue and orange lines connect.

No one was injured.

All four accused turned themselves into police in the days following the smoke bomb attacks, after smart phone photographs taken by commuters were circulated by police.

The four suspects were all university students involved in the protests against tuition fee hikes that were to be imposed by the former Liberal government of Jean Charest.