The Kingston teen accused of terrorist acts was released to the custody of two responsible persons on Wednesday.
This comes after three days of bail hearings and over two months of being held in custody.
The justice of the peace presiding over the bail hearing, Herbert Krelling, initially denied the youth’s bail, but the defence had proposed if the bail was denied, he may be allowed to be released to two responsible persons.
Section 31 of the Youth Criminal Justice Act makes it mandatory for a justice of the peace to consider the possibility of releasing a youth to the care of responsible persons if denied bail.
Unlike a surety, who would normally pay a bail bond and ensure that someone released on bail complies to their release conditions, a responsible person is legally beholden to ensure the conditions placed on the youth are met, or else the responsible person could face charges.
The court also has the ability to place conditions on the responsible persons, and if those conditions are not met, they could face charges. Unlike sureties, responsible persons do not have to pay to have the accused released to their custody.
It was under this section of the act that the youth, who cannot be named because of his age, was released on Wednesday under the following conditions:
- The youth will be required to wear a GPS system ankle bracelet that will be installed and monitored by the RCMP;
- The youth must attend court when required;
- The youth must be with at least one of the responsible persons at all times;
- The youth must not be in possession of any electronic communication devices that can access the internet;
- The youth must not have any computer, smartphone, tablet or any such device capable of accessing the internet;
- The youth must not be in possession of weapons of any kind;
- The youth must not have possession of explosive devices or anything that could cause bodily harm or threaten any person;
- The youth must make himself amenable to follow the rules of the residence of the responsible person;
- He must participate in educational programming arranged by the responsible person;
- The youth must remain in the province of Ontario at all times;
- The youth must refrain from any communication with Hussam Alzahabi;
- The youth may only access the internet for educational purposes on prior consent from police;
- The youth must not be in possession of a passport.
Conditions were also placed on the two responsible persons, requiring them to ensure the youth attends court when scheduled, to monitor him and ensure that he abides by all of the conditions of his release. They are also required to contact RCMP and Kingston police immediately if either responsible person becomes aware of breach of conditions.
The bail hearing first began on March 12, continued on March 29 and ended on April 1. The judge opted to take two days to deliberate over the arguments presented by the Crown and the defence.
Simon Borys, one of the youth’s defence counsels, said the youth was “quite happy” with his release.
When asked what he would say to the people of Kingston concerned about the release of a person facing terrorism charges, Borys noted the decision was not made lightly by Krelling.
“The justice of the peace had a very difficult job to do in this situation,” said Broys.
“I understand the concern that people may have given the nature of the allegations. All I can say is that we do have a very nuanced but enlighted system of bail in this country for dealing with young persons that balances all of the different competing interests, including public safety.”
Borys also noted that the Crown has the opportunity to appeal the decision.
The teen was originally arrested on Jan. 24 during RCMP raids in two Kingston neighbourhoods. Another man, Alzahabi, was also arrested but released the next day without charges.
The youth, on the other hand, was charged with knowingly facilitating terrorist activity and counselling someone to use an explosive or other lethal device to cause death or serious bodily injury.
Since his arrest, three new charges were laid against the youth — two federal charges for allegedly possessing explosive materials and for taking action to cause an explosion, as well as a provincial charge for allegedly uttering threats.
He will appear again in court on April 30.