The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police "E" Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on April 13, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Charge dropped in Ontario man’s terrorism hoax case: Lawyer

OTTAWA — The lawyer for an Ontario man charged with falsely claiming to have committed terrorist acts as a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant says his client is relieved after the charge was withdrawn.

Shehroze Chaudhry was arrested by the RCMP and charged in September 2020 with perpetrating a hoax related to a terrorist activity following what the Mounties described as a lengthy investigation.

The charge stemmed from what the police at the time said were numerous media interviews in which the 26-year-old from Burlington, Ont., claimed to have travelled to Syria in 2016 to join ISIL and committed acts of extremism.

Those interviews were published in multiple media outlets, aired on podcasts and featured in a television documentary, the RCMP alleged, all of which raised public safety concerns.

But Chaudhry’s lawyer Nader Hasan said in a statement on Sunday that the charge has been withdrawn, adding his client “maintains his innocence with respect to this and any other criminal charge.”

“Mr. Chaudhry’s decision to enter into a peace bond and remain on conditions for an additional 12 months is an acknowledgment that he made mistakes,” Hasan added. “But those were mistakes borne out of immaturity — not sinister intent. And certainly not criminal intent.

“This resolution also takes into account the tremendous strides that Mr. Chaudhry has made over the past two years. Mr. Chaudhry has managed to graduate from university and maintain employment.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press