Toronto abduction 'victim' granted bail
A Toronto student accused of faking his own abduction was granted bail Wednesday morning after making a brief court appearance.
Furqan Muhammad-Haroon, 22, was charged with public mischief on Tuesday after police located him in St. Catharines, Ont., three days after he was reported missing by his cousin.
On Wednesday, a judge ruled that Muhammad-Haroon must post a $20,000 bail before he could be released from custody. He also imposed restrictions on the University of Toronto student, banning him from leaving his parent's home unless he is visiting his lawyer or doctor.
He is to see a doctor within seven days about possible mental health issues.
Muhammad-Haroon's parents and son accompanied him to court Wednesday morning but had no comment for reporters. The accused, his head bowed, rushed past reporters without saying anything.
"We're extremely happy that he is safe," Det. Anthony Paoletta told reporters outside court.
"His family is very relieved that he's been found safe, and they are extremely grateful (to) people who have assisted in the search, including the media," Shahzad Siddiqui, the family's lawyer, told CTV Toronto on Wednesday.
Muhammad-Haroon's family held an emotional news conference on Monday pleading to the public for information about his whereabouts.
Police say Muhammad-Haroon called his cousin at around 3:30 p.m. on Saturday to tell him that he was being followed by three men, one of whom was armed with a gun. Authorities found the man's green 2003 Mazda MPV shortly afterwards with no sign of him inside.
Toronto police spokesperson Const. Wendy Drummond told ctvtoronto.ca that officers who investigated the matter found no evidence that Haroon was abducted.
Drummond noted the alleged abduction would have occurred at mid-afternoon in a well-travelled, populated area. In addition, there are numerous businesses in the area with security cameras, and those cameras did not provide any evidence of an abduction, she said.
There were no witnesses to the alleged abduction. However, on Tuesday, an anonymous caller tipped off police that the man was staying at a mosque in St. Catharines.
Muhammad-Haroon has been described by family and friends as a young man of fine character.
However, it has emerged he is facing a charge of theft under $5,000, and that Muhammad-Haroon's family was unaware of that fact. The charge was laid against him on Aug. 13. Const. Marlene Orlowski of York Regional Police told ctvtoronto.ca that the charge was laid in connection with the alleged theft of computer-related equipment from IBM, where the man had been working.
He is expected in a Newmarket, Ont. courtroom on Sept. 15 to face charges in connection with the alleged theft. His conditions of release on that charge specified that he couldn't leave Ontario.
Muhammad-Haroon had been scheduled to fly to Dubai on Saturday to join his family on a holiday.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Chris Eby