Skip to comments.Terrorist sings new tune (Toronto 18 trainer about to get out, buss a fly rap in court)
Posted on 11/28/2010 11:25:06 AM PST by Libloather
Terrorist sings new tune
By MICHELE MANDEL, Toronto Sun
Last Updated: November 26, 2010 6:59pm
BRAMPTON - Its a strange road from would-be terrorist to would-be rapper.
But far better Steven Chands bad poetry than his last hobby of training terror recruits in the snow.
After pledging to have nothing more to do with terrorism and performing a rather bizarre courtroom rap, Steven Chand was handed a stiff 10 year sentence by Justice Fletcher Dawson Friday for training and fundraising for the Toronto 18 terror group.
But with credit for his nearly five years in custody, Chand will have only seven months and 10 days left in jail, though he will likely be out on parole much sooner.
Still thats months more behind bars than what both the Crown and defence had asked for: They suggested he be released on time served.
Chand, 29, was found guilty in June of participating in a plot to storm Parliament Hill while simultaneously detonating truck bombs in the heart of Torontos financial district.
Participating in a terror group carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. For trying to raise money for its members, Chand was also convicted of counselling to commit fraud over $5,000 to benefit a terror group, which could have netted him life in prison.
While the Crown and defence agreed on an eight-year sentence that would have essentially freed him right after the jury returned with their guilty plea, Dawson wisely declared that would be contrary to the public interest.
Instead, he ordered a full pre-sentence report to help him consider the appropriate punishment for a member of the Toronto 18s inner circle who was not only training and evaluating terrorist recruits but also trying to raise money for a shipment of assault rifles.
Its a report that offers few clues into how we produced our very own homegrown terrorist.
Born in Scarborough to Hindu parents from Fiji, Chand converted to Islam at 21 and was apparently adrift, the judge said, after a less than ideal upbringing.
His parents split when he was 9, he dropped out of high school but later finished his diploma, tried an auto mechanics course in college but had to leave for financial reasons and bounced from job to job, his longest being a year spent as a telemarketer.
He felt victimized because of his religion, Dawson noted, and was an easy target for Muslim extremists.
Mentor Muhammad Robert Heft, himself a convert to Islam, said outside court hes spent the last four years counselling Chand on the phone as part of a deradicalization effort.
Ive got him to admit that the company that he kept was wrong and those ideas that some of the Toronto 18 had were detrimental to our community and detrimental to all Canadians. So thats progress, he said.
But from reading his pre-sentence report, the judge found Chand was an enigma who lacked remorse. I cannot say his prospects for rehabilitation are good, Dawson warned.
Chand, though, disagreed.
The thin bearded man with his black hair pulled in a low knot was allowed to leave the prisoners box and calmly read his two-page letter to the court in which he insisted he was a changed man.
I have no intentions or desires or motives to be involved in any criminal activity nor to participate in anything that has even a hint of terrorism, Chand pledged before sentencing began. Im ready to reintegrate and become a productive member of society.
And then in what must be a first in superior court, the convicted terrorist proceeded to rap for the white-haired judge.
I journey through the dark searchin for the sunshine, he said, in an excerpt from his poem. Broken pieces of my heart cry sometimes. Through every tribulation I survive, I rise fortified.
Despite his rhymes, Dawson still decided to send Chand back to jail for several months, but he did wish him well.
Mr. Chand I heard what you said and I hope things work out for you, the judge told him. It would be in the best interests of the country, and the community and yourself to be successful in rethinking some of your ideas.
Wed even prefer his rapping.
Yo, Canada. Wass up wiff goin' easy on the perps, man?
Indeed. The usual progression is the reverse of this.