From the Toronto Star.
A Mississauga man who pleaded guilty to belonging to a homegrown terror cell plotting to detonate truck bombs in downtown Toronto told a court yesterday he is “not a lunatic who is hell bent on the destruction of western civilization.”
Saad Khalid, a member of the so-called Toronto 18, said he made a “huge mistake and not a day passes by that I am not filled with regret for my role in this despicable crime.”
“I never wanted to hurt anybody,” said Khalid, 23, while reading a prepared statement at the start of his sentencing hearing.
Khalid, who has been in jail since his arrest in June 2006, told the Brampton court he was motivated to get involved with the group because he disagreed with Canada’s military presence in Afghanistan.
He asked Superior Court Justice Bruce Durno for a “second chance,” explaining that while in jail he has studied Islam and consulted with imams and now understands the errors of his way.
Defence lawyer Russell Silverstein suggested Khalid be given a 10-year sentence and extra credit for time served, including 15 months in solitary confinement.
Crown prosecutor Croft Michaelson said a more appropriate sentence is 18 to 20 years, with eligibility for parole after serving half of his sentence.
Khalid is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 3.