London, Ont., doctor, Khurram Syed Sher, acquitted of terrorism charge

Tony Spears, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:11 PM ET

OTTAWA — A London, Ont., pathologist was acquitted Tuesday of conspiring to facilitate terror.

Dr. Khurram Syed Sher is the first person accused of a terrorism offence in Canada to be acquitted at trial.

His brush with a homegrown terror cell was confined to a single, albeit lengthy, conversation he had with two alleged co-conspirators in July 2010.

“It’s been a very, very tough four years,” defence lawyer Michael Edelson said as Sher stood at his side.

“His career has been ended. He’s lost over $1 million in income...His family has left, he has reduced access to his children.”

“It’s been tragic.”

Judge Charles Hackland said Sher likely had “jihadist sympathies,” but he doubted Sher had actually agreed to join a pre-existing terror conspiracy.

“The accused, notwithstanding that he is a physician and therefore academically bright, impressed me as a quite naive, immature and inarticulate young man,” Hackland said in his decision Tuesday.


Dr. Khurram Syed Sher walks out of the Ottawa courthouse with his lawyer, Michael Edelson after verdict. (Giuseppe Valiante/QMI Agency)

“I assess the accused as the type of person who would go with the flow and avoid debate or confrontation while a guest in the home of someone who should otherwise have been confronted.”

Edelson said Hackland got it “dead right.”

In the fateful conversation, secretly recorded by RCMP bugs, the men appeared to discuss attacking a military repatriation ceremony at Ontario’s CFB Trenton, and they capped the night with an oath to “Q and T” — which the court heard meant al- Qaida and the Taliban.

“I pledge the same,” Sher says, according a transcript of the recording. “What he said.”

By that point, however, the defence argued the evening had devolved into a farce. The men had used a dustbuster to select the leader of the alleged terror cell and the oath was replete with snorts of laughter.


Videos

Photos