The Current

Revealing facts behind the Via Rail Terror Plot verdict

The high-profile terror trial that ended Friday in Toronto, with convictions for the two accused, was full of twists and turns. The CBC's Laura Lynch was present for the entire trial and she shares her observations on this significant court case.
It took jurors in Toronto ten days deliberation, and many questions to the judge, to arrive at their decision Friday, convicting two men of a plot to derail a passenger train. (Peter McCabe/Canadian Press)

"Real serious public dangers" — that's how the Crown prosecutor described the two men found guilty Friday in the so-called Via Rail Terror Plot. And the Toronto jury that heard their case eventually agreed, though not without several days' worth of deliberations ... and a seeming asterisk next to one of the men.

Raed Jaser, left and Chiheb Esseghaier were convicted earlier this year of various terrorism-related charges in connection with a plot to derail a Via train. (Tammy Hoy/John Mantha/Canadian Press)

Chiheb Esseghaier, of Montreal, was found guilty of all charges against him while Raed Jaser, of Toronto, was convicted of all but one charge.

At the centre of the case was a 2012 plot to derail a Via passenger train, generally thought to be en route to Toronto from New York. Among other charges, both men were convicted of conspiring to commit murder for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a terrorist group.

But jurors were deadlocked on the charge against Jaser of "conspiring to interfere with transportation facilities for the benefit of a terrorist group." Both men could now face life in prison. The case was unusual in many ways: An elaborate sting by an undercover FBI agent; one defendant who refused to participate in the trial because he only wants to be judged by the rules of the Quran; and a jury that was clearly wrestling with the legal complexities.

For more on what transpired inside the courtroom — and the work that went on outside of it beforehand — we were joined by CBC reporter Laura Lynch. She was in Vancouver this morning. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino.