Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Sabrine Djermane, left to right, El Mahdi Jamali and his father, leave the courthouse after the pair were acquitted of terror-related charges Tuesday in Montreal.

One of two Montrealers not guilty on three terror-related charges

MONTREAL — The three-month trial of two young Montrealers who faced terror-related offences ended Tuesday with one acquitted on all counts and the other convicted on one reduced charge related to explosives.

Sabrine Djermane, 21, was found not guilty of attempting to leave Canada to commit a terror act abroad; possession of an explosive substance; and committing an act under the direction or for the profit of a terrorist organization.

El Mahdi Jamali, 20, was found guilty of possession of an explosive without lawful excuse, a lesser charge Superior Court Justice Marc David had offered jurors as a possibility.

The original charge was possession of an explosive with dangerous purpose.

The two were to be released Tuesday and David stressed that Jamali had already served his sentence given his time in detention since their arrest in April 2015.

“Tears, tears, there weren’t a lot of words,” was how Djermane’s lawyer, Charles Benmouyal, described his client’s initial reaction to the verdict.

“Right now, it’s basically emotion that is dominant.”

Jamali’s lawyer, Tiago Murias was also happy.

“We couldn’t have hoped for better,” he said.

Federal prosecutor Lyne Decarie said she will study in detail David’s instructions to the jury with an eye to possibly filing an appeal.

Decarie said Djermane and Jamali are still subject to various conditions, including staying away from one particular Montreal mosque, not speaking to anyone in Syria, avoiding social media and any terrorism-related documents, and reporting to authorites every week.

A fourth charge of facilitating a terrorist act was previously withdrawn against the two.

The Crown, which called 31 witnesses, argued Djermane and Jamali wanted to leave Canada to join Islamic State and had also accumulated the necessary ingredients to make a bomb.

Neither of the accused — a couple at the time of their arrest — presented a defence.

Their lawyers said the evidence against their clients was thin and didn’t back up the serious charges against them.

The RCMP arrested the couple after investigators received a tip they were planning to leave Canada in short order.

Crown officials said warrants executed at a condo they’d rented and at the home of Jamali’s parents turned up materials that could be used to rig an explosive device as well as evidence they were preparing to leave Canada the following month.

The Crown also focused on the respective financial situations of the pair — that they’d both plowed through lines of credit and emptied their bank accounts leading up to their arrest.

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