Once heralded as Canada's largest post-9-11 counterterrorism operation, the case against an alleged group of homegrown terrorists was further diminished Tuesday as the so-called Toronto 18 was whittled down to 11 people still facing charges.
Qayyum Abdul Jamal, Ahmad Mustafa Ghany, Ibrahim Aboud and Yasim Mohamed had their charges stayed in a Brampton, Ont., courtroom Tuesday. A stay essentially means the charges are dropped unless the Crown reactivates them within a year.
Outside court, Jamal said he looks forward to getting back to his life and hopes to go back to school.18 months in jail, only to have the charges against you effectively tossed.
But his lawyer, Anser Farooq, said he wants answers as to why his client spent some 18 months behind bars, often in solitary confinement.
"As far as I'm concerned... there should be some form of inquiry as to why it was this gentleman spent such a period of time in custody and spent it in the fashion that he did," he said.
A factum filed by one suspect's lawyer suggests only two suspects and police informant Mubin Shaikh knew the true purpose of the camp, which was to "identify people of skill, physical and spiritual," and not conduct training.
According to court documents released last month, an alleged terrorist accused of wanting to behead Prime Minister Stephen Harper was lured to the camp on the assumption he was doing some winter camping and was frequently sent on coffee runs to Tim Hortons.
A reasonable prediction: before this is over, there will be a mess of embarrassing questions for the government to deal with.