Base Petawawa was a target: Police
A Pembroke man charged with attempting to possess explosive substances, in what police allege was his intent to detonate an improvised explosive device at CFB Petawawa, has been refused bail.
Matin Abdul Stanikzy, 24, will remain in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre, a superior court judge ruled this week.
Mr. Stanikzy, an Afghan national, faces charges of assault, attempting to possess an explosive substance, counselling to commit theft, uttering a threat to cause death and threatening to burn, destroy or damage personal property.
On Nov. 17, 2010, city police arrested the accused after investigating an assault allegation. The RCMP's anti-terrorism squad subsequently laid the other charges. Mr. Stanikzy was denied bail on Dec. 3. His lawyer, Stuart Konyer, sought a bail review heard earlier this week in Pembroke superior court.
Thursday, Justice Timothy Ray upheld the earlier decision of Justice of the Peace Richard Sculthorpe to deny bail, stating the defendant poses a flight risk and that it is necessary to protect the public's safety.
In the decision, Justice Ray considered the allegations which have not be proven in court.
Justice Ray referred to information presented by Renfrew County Crown attorney Jason Nicol during the Dec. 3 bail hearing, where it was stated that police were called to a Pembroke women's shelter on Nov. 17 to investigate an assault complaint. Officers spoke to a woman who told them she had been assaulted the night before.
The woman advised police she was an employee of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited at Chalk River Laboratories. She recounted that Mr. Stanikzy arrived in Canada in November, 2009 and lived with his brother and sister-in-law in Toronto for six months. She moved with him to Pembroke when she was hired by AECL.
She alleged the defendant asked her to obtain explosive materials so he could detonate an explosive device at CFB Petawawa. According to the allegation, he told her he wanted to wound or kill 30 to 100 people at CFB Petawawa.
The woman said she recorded the conversation which she alleged took place in July, 2010.
According to the allegations laid out by the Crown, the woman told police Stanikzy had made comments about becoming a suicide bomber in Canada or becoming an interpreter in Afghanistan and leading Canadian troops into a Taliban or al- Qaida ambush.
She told police he described himself as a supporter of the Taliban and al-Qaida and he perceived Canadians as his enemies. She alleged he specifically mentioned his desire to kill people at CFB Petawawa since "people there are getting ready to fight in his country of Afghanistan." The complainant told police Stanikzy said he does not care if he dies and that if he killed a non-Muslim he would be considered a martyr.
Justice Ray in his ruling also referred to Crown evidence at the bail hearing, which indicated the woman also told police during the interview that Stanikzy was very religious and that she had noticed a change in his attitudes over a period of five or six months. He told her that if he got the opportunity to go to Pakistan he would "try to kill at least one military person."
The complainant told police she was worried about her own safety and she alleged that he had threatened to kill her in the past.
In presenting his decision to deny bail on Dec. 3, Justice of the Peace Sculthorpe stated he found the Crown's case to be strong and noted the seriousness of the charges. He noted that the defendant had stated his intent to cause harm to a number of individuals, that the risk to the public was strong and could not be abated by conditions.
In his submissions to Justice Ray earlier this week, Mr. Konyer said there would be adequate supervision for Mr. Stanikzy, who has no criminal record, with the addition of three sureties to those who had already come forth to make bail. His client would be staying at his brother's apartment in Toronto and would not leave the premises under a form of house arrest. Mr. Konyer pointed to the delay between the recording of the defendant in July 2010 and the complainant's report to the police in November as evidence that the complainant was not particularly disturbed by the nature of the statements made.
However, Mr. Nicol said Justice of the Peace Sculthorpe's detention order should not be overturned, noting that the additional sureties being proposed does not increase the level of supervision. Mr. Nicol said the complainant was terrified of the defendant, had been threatened by him, and that the delay in reporting to the police was because she feared for her life .
Upholding the decision to refuse bail, Justice Ray stated there was no doubt the defendant was a flight risk, since he had been in Canada less than 18 months and was estranged from his sponsor. The defendant possessed an Afghan passport, which had not been surrendered. While he agreed the sureties were well meaning, the release plan would be dependent on Mr. Stanikzy complying with any rules and agreements.
Justice Ray also considered the necessity to protect the public. He noted the defendant's own words as they appeared in the transcript of the July 2010 recording as frightening.
He stated, "...the defendant's words as relayed by the complainant are of the greatest concern, not only to innocent Canadians, but also because of the threats to the complainant's safety."
Justice Ray concluded the defendant would not be amenable to complying with rules, undertakings or the admonition of extended family members including the sureties.
Justice Ray also weighed the apparent strength of the Crown's case, the gravity of the offence, the circumstances and the fact that the defendant is liable to a lengthy prison term. He concluded the Crown's evidence is strong, noting "...it manifests from the defendant's own words."
The gravity of the offence is very serious, he added, noting it falls into the category of the most serious since it includes "...the threat of indiscriminate wanton killing of innocent Canadians with the intent to undermine the very fabric of our society."
The circumstances, he concluded, include threats to the life and safety of the complainant.
Justice Ray dismissed Mr. Konyer's application and ordered Mr. Stanikzy remain in custody.
None of the above charges have been proven in court.
Sean Chase is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist