TORONTO - The fate of two men accused of plotting to derail a passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S. now rests in the hands of a jury.
Justice Michael Code spent three and a half days delivering nearly 300 pages of instructions to jurors in the case of Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier.
Jaser is facing four terror-related charges while Esseghaier is facing five. Not guilty pleas have been entered for both men.Jaser's lawyer has argued that the permanent resident of Palestinian descent was only feigning interest in the alleged terror plot as part of an elaborate con to extract money from his co-accused and an undercover FBI agent who befriended the men.
Esseghaier, a Tunisian national who was pursuing a PhD in Montreal when he was arrested in 2013, chose not to participate in his trial because he had wanted to be judged by the rules of the Qur'an.Crown prosecutors argued that there was an "overwhelming" amount of evidence against the accused, and urged the jury to find them guilty on all counts.
Justice Michael Code, who presided over the case, told jurors they had to consider the evidence in the case with an open mind.
"You must consider all the evidence when you determine whether Mr. Esseghaier and or Mr. Jaser committed an offence alleged in the indictment, always remembering that the onus is on the Crown to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," he said."Always remember not to engage in speculation on matters which have no evidentiary foundation."
Code also reminded jurors to weight the evidence presented in the case "as a whole.""You must not examine evidence piecemeal," he said. "Your inferences should be rational or logical."
Jurors were also warned not to think of the consequences their verdicts might bring for the accused."You should not be influenced by any outside consideration including the subject of punishment," Code said. "Your objective is to decide your verdicts ... based on what you've seen or heard in this courtroom."
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