The Supreme Court of Canada said Thursday it will not hear the appeals of the sentences given to three men behind the so-called 'Toronto 18' plot to set off bombs in Ontario and form an al-Qaeda-like cell in Toronto.

The top court dismissed the men's applications for leave to appeal without issuing any comment. If the court had agreed to hear the appeals, they would have involved the principles of sentences for terror convictions.

The three men, Zakaria Amara, Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya, had all previously pleaded guilty to being part of the group.

Amara, one of the plot's principal organizers, pleaded guilty to knowingly participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion for the benefit of a terrorist group. In 2010, he was sentenced to life in prison — with two days credit per day served in pre-trial custody.

In 2009, Khalid pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a militant plot with the intention of causing an explosion. He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but credited with seven years for time served.

Gaya pleaded guilty to belonging to a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was credited 7 ½ years for time served.

14 men, 4 youths arrested in 2006 plot

In June 2006, police raided homes in Toronto and Mississauga, arresting 17 people in connection with two local plots. One more man was arrested two months later. The group, including four youths, was referred to as the Toronto 18.

Influenced by the terrorist organization al-Qaeda, the Toronto 18 had two objectives:

  • Bomb the Toronto Stock Exchange and high-profile buildings in the province.
  • Create a large al-Qaeda type cell in Toronto, creating enough mayhem to scare Canada into withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan.

Of the 18, seven adults pleaded guilty. Courts convicted four more from the group, including one of the youths, who was sentenced as an adult. Sentences ranged from 2 ½ years to life in prison.

The group's ringleader, Fahim Ahmad, pleaded guilty to importing firearms, participating in a terrorist group and instructing others to carry out activities for that group. 

Charges against the remaining seven, including three youths, were either dropped or stayed.