Chapter 10 – Trial by Jury and the Toronto 18
This chapter examines the trial of Fahim Ahmad, Steven Chand, and Asad Ansari, which was the only jury trial in the Toronto 18 prosecutions and the first held under post 9/11 terrorism offences. Part II examines the role of juries in past national security trials. These include those that occurred after the 1837 rebellions; after the assassination of D’Arcy McGhee; after the 1885 Métis resistance; after the Winnipeg General Strike; and after the October Crisis of 1970. The third part examines the public record of the Toronto 18 jury trial, including decisions about what questions could and could not be asked by the accused about potential jurors and the decision to require the three accused to stand in the prisoner’s dock. Part IV examines the future of jury trials in terrorism cases in light of the exploration of this topic by the Air India commission and 2019 reforms to jury selection. Although the jury is often conceived as a shield for the individual from the state, it can also be a sword that the state can wield against unpopular accused. Sometimes unpopular accused may be better off selecting, if they can, trial by judge alone.