Gary Batasar, the lawyer for Steven Vikash Chand, alias Abdul Shakur, told reporters outside the building his client was accused of wanting to decapitate Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
“The allegations, as you reported, are quite serious, including storming and bombing of various buildings,” Batasar said.
“There’s an allegation that my client personally indicated that he wanted to behead the prime minister of Canada.”
Batasar said the synopsis of accusations provided by the Crown included allegations that the group wanted to “storm the Parliament buildings” and “take politicians hostage.” It also indicated that the CBC building in downtown Toronto was a potential target.
The synopsis also alleges Chand indicated “he would personally like to behead Stephen Harper,” Batasar said.
He said the group also allegedly planned to behead the hostages if their demands - the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the release of Muslim prisoners - weren’t met.
Batasar accused those authorities, as well as the U.S. government and President George W. Bush, of trying to instil fear in the public.
“It appears to me that whether you’re in Ottawa or Toronto or Crawford, Tex., or Washington, D.C., what is wanting to be instilled in the public is fear,” he said.
“That’s precisely why everyone is here today, and that’s unfortunate.”
The lawyer chastised Harper for expressing “happiness” that the suspects had been arrested over the weekend.
“I expect my client to get a fair trial, as fair as every other trial that occurs in Canada,” he said.
“In fact, the comments made by the prime minister himself with respect to his happiness that these persons had been arrested certainly is surprising and shocking. I believe the prime minister should keep out of the process and let justice take its course.”
Defence lawyer Donald McLeod, acting for Jahmaal James, complained that he has spoken to his client only through a glass divider and has been denied a private visit.
Two other men already serving sentences in the Kingston area on gun crimes were not scheduled to appear. Five male youths appeared later.
Earlier, shouting broke out between court staff and family members of one of the 17 alleged terrorists scheduled this morning for bail hearings.
As clusters of family members began to trickle into the Brampton courtroom, three women wearing burkas, saying they were being harassed by the media, pushed their way through a security line.
After a shouting match with court staff, they obeyed orders to return to the end of the line.
All have been in isolation under close supervision for 24 hours a day at Maplehurst Detention Centre since their arrest Friday night and early Saturday morning.
They said they have not been allowed to pray together and have not been allowed to see their families.
Other friends and family of the accused arriving at the courthouse also complained of media "harassment."
"These (family members) are not the accused," said Tarek Fatah, communications director for the Muslim Canadian Congress. "This is racism. It is the people who appear to look like Muslims that are the ones being questioned about their families."
It was the second court appearance for most of the 12 men and five youths from the GTA accused of being part of a home-grown terrorist cell, since police staged a co-ordinated arrest late Friday and early Saturday.
Police presence was not as visible as that of Saturday’s hearings, when camouflaged sharpshooters sat perched atop court buildings and dozens of Peel tactical team officers — many wielding submachine guns — organized below.
But security was still tight. Heavily armed police patrolled the courtroom. Purses, bags and shoes were being closely checked.
The court seats roughly 70 people. No overflow room was made available.
TV cameras and reporters from around the globe swarmed the court entrance in anticipation of the hearings of the 12 men and five youths from the GTA accused of being part of a home-grown terrorist cell.
Lawyer Rocco Galati, who represents two of the men, said on his way into the building that he’s in the dark about the allegations.
Galati says he would like to get a synopsis of what the charges are against his clients.
The accused have been charged under the anti-terrorism act introduced into the Criminal Code in December 2001, a few months after the 9/11 attacks.
This is only the second time the terrorism laws have been used in Canada.
The arrests were made Friday night and Saturday morning in raids conducted by 400 officers and led by the RCMP’s anti-terrorism task force.