Crown begins final arguments in trial of Montreal teen on terror charges

The Crown has begun going over the case against a Montreal teen who faces terrorism-related charges linked to a robbery.

MONTREAL — The Crown has begun going over the case against a Montreal teen who faces terrorism-related charges linked to a robbery.

His trial took place earlier this month before youth court Judge Dominique Wilhelmy.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because he is a minor, faces two charges: committing a robbery for the benefit of a terrorist organization and planning to leave Canada to participate in the activities of a terrorist group abroad.

His father called police in October 2014 after finding cash, a mask and a knife in his backpack.

He told police in statements after his son’s arrest that the boy had said in the months leading up to the robbery he wanted to fight in Syria.

The boy’s parents had long worried their increasingly isolated son had been radicalized.

“He said one way or another, he was going to combat the regime in Syria,” the father told police.

The trial heard the teen had conversed with jihadist sympathizer Martin Couture-Rouleau, who killed a Canadian Forces soldier near Montreal last October and injured another.

Federal Crown prosecutor Lyne Decarie told the judge the evidence presented included the boy’s mother finding a slip of paper with Couture-Rouleau’s phone number in his pocket.

There were also lengthy Twitter chats with Couture-Rouleau in the days before he ran down two Canadian soldiers, killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.

Through Twitter, the teen asked Couture-Rouleau if he could borrow $50 to buy a new knife after his father confiscated his following the robbery.

The teen’s interest in Syria began as early as 2012. His laptop was found by police to have jihadist propaganda and violent war images.

Using credit cards belonging to his parents, he tried to make a donation to a Lebanese group helping insurgents fighting against Bashar Assad’s forces.

In May 2014, he tried to buy a plane ticket to Turkey in the same fashion, with the bank cancelling the suspicious $2,400 charge.

The court also heard the parents tried in vain to keep their son in check, limiting his Internet usage and attempting to hide his passport.

The defence did not present any witnesses and failed to persuade the judge last week to have one of the charges dismissed.

The teen sat impassively in the prisoner’s box as Decarie made her closing arguments.

He has already pleaded guilty to the October 2014 robbery when he was 15. The teen told investigators the stolen money was “the spoils of war.”

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