Men Convicted in via Rail Terror Case Received Fair Trial, Supreme Court Says

March 5, 2021 Updated: March 5, 2021

OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada says two men convicted of terrorism offences received a fair trial even though the judge made errors in assembling the jury.

The top court explained its reasoning today for ruling last October there would be no new trial for Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier.

The men were found guilty in 2015 of terror-related charges arising mainly from an alleged al-Qaida-inspired plot to derail a passenger train travelling between the United States and Canada.

They appealed their convictions, with counsel for Jaser and a court-appointed lawyer for Esseghaier arguing the jury at the trial was improperly constituted.

In August 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a fresh trial for the men on grounds the jury was indeed chosen incorrectly.

The Crown successfully argued in a Supreme Court hearing last fall the convictions should not be overturned on the basis of an error in the jury-selection process that did not deny the men fair trial rights.