The first person convicted under Canadian terror laws has been hit with the maximum allowable sentence: 10 years.
Mohamed Hersi was found guilty in May of attempting to participate in the activities of a terrorist group and of counselling a person to participate in terrorist activity.
Hersi was handcuffed at Pearson Airport in 2011 while trying to board a flight. The Somali-born Canadian says he was going to Egypt to study Arabic. But the prosecution insisted he was ultimately headed for Somalia to join Al-Shabab, a terrorist group with links to Al-Qaeda.
During his sentencing hearing in June, Hersi's lawyer Paul Slansky submitted his client had no plan to engage in any acts of violence.
"Al-Shabab is lock, stock and barrel a terrorist organization," said Superior Court Justice Deena Baltman Thursday. "It is therefore ludicrous to suggest that an aspiring member is signing up for any type of legitimate or conventional warfare." "Clearly," she added, "he (Hersi) was not joining Al-Shabab to stuff envelopes or help out on a bake sale."
The defence had been pushing for a sentence in the two and a half to four year range. The Crown wanted the 10-year maximum to send a strong message to would-be Canadian terrorists.
Hersi’s family and his lawyer say he was entrapped by an undercover police officer. They plan to appeal his conviction.
It was a USB stick left in a bag of clothes at Toronto drycleaners’ that sparked the investigation in 2010. On the jump drive: digital copies of The Anarchist Cookbook, which includes recipes for making bombs, a Canadian Forces Operational manual and reports from the security company Hersi worked for at the time.