Another 'Toronto 18' member pleads guilty
Published Monday, September 28, 2009 8:14PM EDT
A third member of the terror cell known as the Toronto 18 has pleaded guilty in a plot to hit Canadian targets.
Saad Gaya appeared in a Brampton, Ont. courtroom Monday where he admitted to intending to cause an explosion on behalf of a terrorist organization.
Gaya, 21, was one of 18 people arrested in the summer of 2006 and charged in plot to attack several national targets, including Parliament and RCMP headquarters. The 2006 roundup, known as Project Osage, included the seizure of apparent bomb-making materials.
Outside the courts, Gaya's lawyer Paul Slansky said his client pleaded guilty because it was the right thing to do.
But Slansky added Gaya truly believed there was no plan to hurt anyone and had been "duped" by other members in the group. "Certain people had certain plans that were not communicated to Mr. Gaya and Mr. Gaya will be taking the position that he did not know their plans, he said. "He in fact had asked for assurances that there would not be harm to people."
The Crown and defence filed an agreed statement of fact as an exhibit. It will be read into the court record during Gaya's sentencing hearing. Arguments will take place from Dec. 21 to 23. The actual sentence will be announced on Jan. 6.
Gaya has been in custody pending trial since his arrest on June 2, 2006.
Last week, another member of the Toronto 18, 26-year-old Ali Dirie, pleaded guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison.
Dirie admitted to procuring weapons, arranging false travel documents and trying to recruit extremists for a domestic terrorist.
Earlier this month, Saad Khalid, 23, was given a 14-year sentence after he pleaded guilty for his role in the plot.
So far, only one accused in the Toronto 18 terror case has gone to trial. That case resulted in a conviction.
Last September, Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, 21, was found guilty of participating in, and contributing to, a terrorist group.
Although he was 17 years old at the time of the crimes and was tried as a youth, Yogakrishnan received an adult sentence of 2 � years. He was released in May after being credited for time served before trail.
Seven others accused members of the Toronto 18, including the alleged ringleaders, remain in custody and are awaiting trial.
Seven of the 18 men and youths arrested have since had their charges dropped or stayed.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney and files from The Canadian Press