Lawyer for man charged with terrorism-related offences asks jury to shift context

The defence lawyer for El Mahdi Jamali, who, along with Sabrine Djermane, is accused of terrorism-related offences, says there is no evidence Jamali communicated with an ISIS recruiter or that he endorsed ISIS.

Defence makes closing arguments in trial of El Mahdi Jamali and Sabrine Djermane

Sabrine Djermane and El Mahdi Jamali, shown here in a courtroom sketch, are on trial on terrorism-related offences. (Radio-Canada)

The defence lawyer for El Mahdi Jamali, who along with Sabrine Djermane, is accused of terrorism-related offences, has asked jurors to consider all possibilities when evaluating the Crown's evidence.

Tiago Murias then worked to shift the context through which jurors were invited to view evidence found in the pair's home — simple household items, along with a bomb-making recipe.

Both Jamali, 20, and Djermane, 21, were arrested in 2015 and charged in relation to what the Crown has argued were preparations to go to Syria to fight with ISIS. They each face three charges:

  • Attempting to leave Canada to commit a terrorist act.
  • Possession of an explosive substance.
  • Committing an act under the direction of, or for the profit of a terrorist organization.

Murias told the jury there is no evidence that Jamali communicated with an ISIS recruiter or even that he endorsed ISIS.

He also showed that Jamali had even shared a video that was critical of ISIS on social media.

A question of context

On Monday, the jury heard from prosecutor Lyne Décarie, who asked them evaluate all the evidence against the pair in context.

"In a case such as this, you must look at all of the evidence, not each element separately on its own," she said.

"The context, the timing, and looking at the evidence as a whole is primordial."

She gave some examples — seized items like a nine-volt battery or nails — which would be commonplace in most Canadian households.

But she said the items take on a different significance given the testimony of an explosives expert, as well as the existence of a bomb recipe that stated the battery and nails were among the necessary ingredients.

"The batteries take on a whole other level of significance," she said.

Ingredients left lying around

Murias countered on Tuesday that while Jamali did have a recipe for making an explosive substance, he left the materials lying around for days until they were seized in a police raid.

He asked why Jamali would leave these things, which he called "the most fundamental pieces of the puzzle," lying around if he intended to actually make a bomb with them.

Murias is expected to continue his closing arguments Wednesday.

Eleven jurors remain on the panel, and a total of four days have been set aside for final arguments this week.

With files from Matt D'Amours and The Canadian Press