For the father of a Montreal teenager convicted of terrorism, the three-year sentence his boy received Wednesday, though the maximum allowed under youth offender laws, was an enormous weight off his shoulders.
“After wanting us dead, we have now renewed the love between a father and his son,” the man told the court, speaking publicly for the first time since the trial began in September. “My son has not changed 100 per cent, but he is on the path to change.”
The young man was found guilty in December of robbing a dépanneur in association with a terrorist group — ISIS — and trying to leave the country to carry out terrorist acts abroad.
Detained since his arrest in October, 2014, the teenager, who can’t be named because of a publication ban, was sentenced to another 16 months in youth detention followed by eight months in the community.
The 16-year-old will then be under probation for another year, under strict and unusual conditions: no social media, regular sessions with an imam or theologian, and staying out of a certain area of Montreal — notably the campus of Collège de Maisonneuve.
While there had been speculation that the Crown would seek to have him tried as an adult — in which case the young man might have faced a possible life sentence — the Crown and defence lawyers instead followed the recommendations of several experts who believe the boy, while remaining very religious, has become more flexible in his thinking.