Dancing doctor to face terror charge

OTTAWA — More than three years after his arrest, a man who once auditioned for the Canadian Idol TV show will face trial on a terrorism charge.

OTTAWA — More than three years after his arrest, a man who once auditioned for the Canadian Idol TV show will face trial on a terrorism charge.

Khurram Syed Sher, a doctor of pathology from London, Ont., is to be tried by judge alone in an Ottawa courtroom starting Monday.

Sher, 31, was charged along with two other men in August 2010 with conspiracy to facilitate terrorism.

The others cannot be named due to a recently imposed publication ban aimed at ensuring the jury in their trial, slated for April, is not prejudiced.

Following the sensational arrests, police said they seized terrorist literature, videos and manuals, along with dozens of electronic circuit boards allegedly designed to detonate homemade bombs remotely.

Three additional men, all believed to be living abroad, have been named as unindicted co-conspirators.

Police claimed the alleged plot stretched from Ottawa to Afghanistan, Dubai, Iran and Pakistan. A senior RCMP officer said at the time that an attack was still months away, but that the plotters were moving into a preparatory phase.

Authorities said they swooped in when they did to prevent the suspects from sending money to counterparts to buy weapons that would be used against coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Four weeks have been set aside for Sher’s trial.

The McGill University graduate, who has been free on bail, worked as an anatomical pathologist at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital in St. Thomas, Ont., south of London.

He made international headlines shortly after his arrest when it emerged he had once sung and danced on the Canadian Idol program.

An undercover source working for Canada’s main spy agency and sensitive intelligence from the United States and Britain helped build the case against the alleged conspirators, court documents indicate.

At least some of that information came from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the London Metropolitan Police in Britain, says an affidavit filed by the RCMP in the Federal Court of Canada.

The federal government applied under the Canada Evidence Act to maintain a cloak of secrecy over portions of the approximately 9,300 documents disclosed to defence counsel in the criminal cases.

The government argued the sections must remain blacked out to prevent disclosure of information that would be “injurious to national security, international relations or national defence.”

It is unclear how much — if any — of the material will come out during the trials.

A heavily edited court transcript of a closed-door proceeding Dec. 6, 2012, about the federal request for redactions indicates the Canadian Security Intelligence Service relied on an undercover source during the terrorism investigation.

“In fact, in this particular case, the information about the CSIS human source is contained in a number of affidavits for search warrants and wiretaps and so on,” Andre Seguin, a lawyer with the Justice Department’s national security group, said at one point.

Seguin noted that although the information had been disclosed to defence counsel, it remained sealed and could not be seen by the public.

In an affidavit filed in the Federal Court proceeding, CSIS official Bradley Evans said the spy service supported the federal request to keep certain information secret, saying that, if disclosed, it “could lead to the identification of a human source.”

In another affidavit, Capt. Maitland Barber, a senior intelligence official with the Canadian Forces, stressed the importance of safeguarding information provided by Canada’s allies in the “Five Eyes” intelligence community — the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Samantha Sharpe, 25, was stabbed to death at Sunchild First Nation on Dec. 12, 2018. Chelsey Lagrelle was sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for manslaughter in a Red Deer courtroom on Tuesday. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for stabbing friend to death in 2018

Chelsey Lagrelle earlier pleaded guilty to stabbing Samantha Sharpe during argument

Alberta's chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says Albertans need to keep making safe choices to start bending the curve back down. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, 257 additional cases province-wide

Red Deer sits at 459 active cases of the virus

Olds College logo
Olds College to host free, online agriculture celebration next month

Olds College will host a free live-streamed agriculture event next month. The… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services Logo
AHS upgrading online immunization booking tool

Alberta Health Services’ online booking tool for COVID-19 immunizations will be temporarily… Continue reading

Eric Rajah and Brian Leavitt were awarded with Meritorious Service Medals by the Governor General for co-founding the Lacombe-based charity A Better World. The agency’s goal is to reduce poverty and boost education in Africa and Afghanistan. (Contributed photo)
Co-founders of Lacombe-based charity receive one of Canada’s highest honours

Eric Rajah, Brian Leavitt of A Better World are honoured by the Governor General

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Dallas Stars' Mark Pysyk (13) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Ondrej Palat (18) compete for control of a loose puck in the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Vasilevskiy 3rd straight shutout as Lightning top Stars 2-0

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) grabs a loose puck as Canadiens defenceman Ben Chiarot (8) and Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) battle for the rebound during first-period NHL hockey action Tuesday, March 2, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

Hab down Sens 3-1 to snap 5-game winless streak; Ducharme earns 1st NHL coaching win

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2021, file photo, Creighton coach Greg McDermott watches the team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Butler in Indianapolis. McDermott apologized publicly Tuesday, March 2, for using insensitive language in his postgame locker room talk with players and staff following a loss over the weekend. In a tweet, McDermott said he used a “terribly inappropriate analogy in making a point about staying together as a team despite the loss.” (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

Creighton coach McDermott apologizes for ‘plantation’ remark

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

WHL’s B.C. Division clubs cleared to play in Kamloops and Kelowna bubble environments

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

World Rugby recommends postponing 2021 women’s World Cup to next year

Sean Burke speaks at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. The Montreal Canadiens have made another change to their coaching staff, appointing Burke to take over as the director of goaltending. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

Montreal Canadiens appoint Sean Burke as director of goaltending

The Toronto Arrows line up ahead of their Major League Rugby game in Toronto on April 7, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Toronto Arrows train under the bubble before heading south of the border

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson watches her shot against Team Ontario in the final at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., on February 28, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship

Most Read