A member of a homegrown terrorist group was found guilty Thursday of participating in a plot to set off truck bombs in front of Canada's main stock exchange and two government buildings.
Shareef Abdelhaleem, 34, was a member of the so-called Toronto 18 plot to set off bombs outside Toronto's Stock Exchange, a building housing Canada's spy agency and a military base. The goal was to scare Canada into removing its troops from Afghanistan.
The prosecution prevailed because the defense elected not to present any evidence to establish Abdelhaleem's guilt or innocence, said Dan Brien, a spokesman with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
The prosecution's only witness, Shaher Elsohemy, was a former friend of Abdelhaleem who became a police agent and infiltrated the terror cell.
Elsohemy testified that Abdelhaleem initially balked at the terror plan but became excited at the prospect of profiting from an attack on the stock exchange.
The mastermind behind what a judge called the "spine-chilling" plot, Zakaria Amara, 24, was convicted earlier this week and sentenced to life.
The Jordanian-born Canadian citizen received Canada's first life sentence for a terrorism offense, and the maximum sentenced under Canada's anti-terrorism laws, though he could seek parole as early as 2016.
As for the rest of members of the Toronto 18, four have now pleaded guilty and one was convicted after a trial.
Charges were stayed or dropped against seven people and six men still face trial. One man's trial began last week and five others face a trial in March.
Abdelhaleem's trial is expected to continue next week with arguments on the entrapment motion.
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