The outburst from Chiheb Esseghaier, one of the men accused of plotting to attack a Toronto-bound passenger train erupted in court Monday, telling a female police officer attempting to escort him from the room to back of. And the court gave in to his demands.
National Post (h/t Maurice) The outburst from Esseghaier, who has repeatedly used court as a platform to espouse his religious views, came toward the end of the hearing, as the female officer moved toward the prisoner’s box to handcuff him.
A male officer was already in the room to escort his co-accused, Raed Jaser, back to his cell; in response to Mr. Esseghaier’s complaint, the male and female officers switched places. Mr. Jaser did not raise an issue.
Toronto Police spokesman Mark Pugash said there is no policy requiring officers to accommodate such requests, but in this case, the male officer was already in the courtroom and it seemed the most expedient solution.
Mr. Esseghaier confirmed Monday he would represent himself if he could not find a lawyer who would abide by those terms. “I don’t accept other reference, only the holy Koran… The Criminal Code is not perfect; only [the Koran] is perfect,” Mr. Esseghaier said in a rambling and repetitive answer to Justice Ian Nordheimer’s question on whether he was continuing to seek counsel.
Mr. Jaser and Mr. Esseghaier were arrested in April after an eight-month RCMP investigation, and charged with conspiracy to commit murder in association with a terrorist group. Police allege they received guidance from al-Qaeda in Iran as they plotted to kill passengers on a train headed to Toronto from New York. A third man, Ahmed Abassi, faces related charges in the United States.