Another ‘Toronto 18’ member pleads guilty

tt_saadgayaAOL News… Another member of the “Toronto 18” group that plotted attacks on city buildings has pleaded guilty to a terrorism charge.

Saad Gaya, 21, pleaded guilty Monday in a Brampton, Ont., court to committing a criminal offence for a terrorist group. At the time of his arrest in 2006, Gaya was a high school honour student.

Gaya’s lawyer Paul Slansky said Monday his client was duped by other members of group, was assured no one would be injured, and was unaware of the bomb plot.

If Gaya had been aware that they meant to kill people then he would not have joined, Slansky said.

Gaya is the third adult to admit guilt in the plot, which was never carried through.

Last week, Mohamed Ali Dirie, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in the activities of a terrorist group. He is to be sentenced Friday.

His plea came four months after Saad Khalid, 23, pleaded guilty to one count of participating in a militant plot with the intention of causing an explosion. He was sentenced earlier in September to 14 years in prison, but was credited with seven years for time already served.

Nishanthan Yogakrishnan, a minor at the time of his arrest, was tried under youth justice laws and convicted in September 2008 of conspiring to bomb several targets. He was the first person convicted under Canada’s anti-terrorism laws.

The presiding judge found he had continued his activity with the group past his 18th birthday, so he was sentenced as an adult in May, getting a 2½-year prison term. The judge then freed him, granting him credit for time already spent in custody.

In all, 17 men and youths were arrested in the Toronto area in June 2006 and detained following an investigation by CSIS. An 18th person was arrested in August that year.

Seven of the 18 people arrested have since had their charges dropped or stayed.

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