Chiheb Esseghaier is led off a plane by an RCMP officer at Buttonville Airport just north of Toronto on April 23, 2013. A man found guilty of plotting to derail a passenger train between Canada and the U.S. plans to appeal his conviction at Ontario’s highest court. Esseghaier, a deeply religious Muslim, argues he ought to have been judged by the rules of the Qur’an.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

Chiheb Esseghaier is led off a plane by an RCMP officer at Buttonville Airport just north of Toronto on April 23, 2013. A man found guilty of plotting to derail a passenger train between Canada and the U.S. plans to appeal his conviction at Ontario’s highest court. Esseghaier, a deeply religious Muslim, argues he ought to have been judged by the rules of the Qur’an.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

New trial ordered for men convicted of terror charges in plot to derail Ontario train

Jaser and Esseghaier were found guilty in 2015 on a total of eight terror-related charges between them

Ontario’s highest court has ordered a new trial for two men found guilty of terrorism charges in connection with a plot to derail a passenger train.

The Court of Appeal for Ontario says the jury that convicted Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier was improperly selected, which means its verdict cannot stand.

Jaser and Esseghaier were found guilty in 2015 on a total of eight terror-related charges between them. They were sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2023.

Lawyers for Jaser argued the trial judge mistakenly rejected their client’s request regarding the method of jury selection.

The lawyer appointed to assist Esseghaier — who continues to be self-represented — agreed in written arguments that a new trial must be ordered on that ground.

The law regarding jury selection was in flux during the trial but the appeal court says the approach used by the judge has since been deemed wrong. Several other cases have been overturned due to similar errors in recent years.

Jaser had also raised other grounds for appeal but the jury issue was heard first.

Both men also previously indicated they wished to challenge their sentences, but the call for a new trial makes that unnecessary.

The Canadian Press


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