By The Canadian Press
BRANDON, Man. – A Manitoba teenager who pleaded guilty to counselling terrorism will spend no more time in custody, but will have to live under strict curfew conditions and wear an electronic monitoring device for more than two years.
The teen, who can’t be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was 16 when he was charged with posting pro-terrorism comments on social media.
He had been in custody in Brandon since his arrest in November 2015 and pleaded guilty last year to counselling the commission of an indictable offence for the benefit of a terrorist group.
Court was told the boy urged people to fight for the Islamic State and to “strike from within” if they could not go overseas. He also said he considered any government worker or building a legitimate target, Crown attorney Ian Mahon told court.
Provincial court Judge John Coombs sentenced the teen to six months deferred custody to be followed by two years of probation that is to include curfews, electronic monitoring and a ban on using computers. The probation is also to include religious and other counselling directed by his probation supervisor.
Coombs said the boy’s online threats and plans had to be taken seriously, but also appeared to be more theoretical than practical.
“It is also evident that his stated intentions had little connection to reality,” Coombs told court Monday.
“For instance, his plans involved the transportation of significant equipment. He had no access to a motor vehicle and had shown no interest in getting a driver’s licence.”
Court heard the teen talked of travelling overseas himself to fight in an effort called a Hijrah, although he did not have a passport, and had been in contact online with someone who identified themselves as an Islamic fighter.
The boy apologized at a court hearing in November and said he was struggling with his identity when he made the online comments.
He addressed the court again briefly Monday.
“I accept responsibility for what I’ve done,” he said.
Coombs noted the boy had no history of violent behaviour and has a support system that includes family members to help him during his probation.
The youth was taken into custody a few months after the arrest of Aaron Driver in Winnipeg, who had made pro-Islamic State comments on social media.
Driver was placed under a peace bond intended to limit his activities and moved to southwestern Ontario. Despite the bond, Driver, who was 24, was able to obtain explosives, plan an apparent attack in a public area and film a martyrdom video.
Police were tipped off about his apparent plan by the FBI. He was killed last August in a confrontation with police as he got into a taxi.
— By Steve Lambert in Winnipeg. Follow @stevelambertwpg on Twitter.