P.E.I. man signs peace bond over ricin allegations made by the RCMP
Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, May 22, 2015 7:35AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 22, 2015 11:52AM EDT
CHARLOTTETOWN -- A man accused of having enough castor beans to produce a "substantial quantity" of the deadly toxin ricin signed a 12-month peace bond Friday in Charlottetown.
Amir Raisolsadat of Stratford, P.E.I., was arrested in March after the Mounties applied for a peace bond under the Criminal Code.
The peace bond includes several conditions including that he remain in Prince Edward Island, immediately report to a probation officer, refrain from possessing castor beans or castor bean plants, refrain from possessing dangerous weapons and explosives, and report to the RCMP once a week.
Information sworn in provincial court indicates that the RCMP "fears on reasonable grounds" that the 20-year-old university student will commit a terrorism offence.
A search warrant application filed with the court says police acted on two separate complaints about Raisolsadat in the summer of 2013 regarding alleged national security threats towards western countries.
The document alleges that the RCMP found an iPhone case containing between 50 and 60 castor beans after they covertly went into Raisolsadat's home on April 29, 2014.
None of the allegations in the document have been proven in court.
Raisolsadat released a statement thanking his family, friends, neighbours and professors at the University of Prince Edward Island for their support.
"People should know that my family has suffered because of the incredibly public and sensational nature of the proceeding initiated against me," the statement says. "Rest assured that I would never harm anyone."
Raisolsadat was in court for the hearing, sitting at the edge of his seat, his back straight and his hands clasped in front of him. He didn't speak inside or outside court.
Brandon Forbes, Raisolsadat's lawyer, said he had reservations about how the case unfolded but his client decided to abide by the conditions in the peace bond rather than challenge federal authorities.
Forbes said Raisolsadat could either fight the peace bond at great expense or "simply continue to do something that he has been doing all along; that's to live peacefully in Prince Edward Island."
"Despite my reservations as to whether the Crown can prove anything in this matter, I think it was really an easy decision for Amir because he wants this matter to come to an end and get on with living a life as normally as he could."
Forbes said it was important to remember that Raisolsadat has not been charged with anything, adding that the case amounted to a "misunderstanding."
"Last I checked, it's not illegal in this country to own beans," he added. "There was a calculation that because he had beans he could produce some sort of deadly biotoxin. It's the same error of argument to say that because I have poppies growing in my backyard I must be producing opium. It doesn't take a law degree to see the problem in that logic."
The search warrant application made by an RCMP constable says a photo on Raisolsadat's Facebook site shows him standing in front of a castor bean plant. It says another picture shows five castor bean seeds placed in a row on a piece of paper.
The document says police went to Raisolsadat's home on Aug. 16, 2013, and conducted an informal interview in which he denied wanting to harm anyone or western society.
It says police began collecting Raisolsadat's household garbage in December 2013. The RCMP allege they found documents early last year with procedures for making calcium phosphide -- described as an explosive compound -- and a diagram of a small rocket with a section labelled "warhead."
"Based on the information contained in this document, I believe that Amir Raisolsadat has the capability and intent to carry out a terrorist activity," the RCMP officer wrote in the search warrant application.
"I also believe that the results of the General Warrant show that Amir Raisolsadat has in his possession enough castor beans to produce a substantial quantity of ricin."
The search warrant was granted.
In another court document, police say they seized 51 castor beans, castor bean plants, computer hard drives, a number of smartphones, cellphones and eight journals with drawings of explosions, bomb diagrams and chemical formulas.
Forbes dismissed the diagram that was found of the small rocket, saying his assistant was able to buy the item at a toy shop.
"Its a foot-high piece of cardboard with glue and balsa wood. It's meant to put a little GI Joe up in the air and it parachutes down," he said.
He said police allege it was purchased by someone using a fake name, but that isn't correct.
"We found out after the fact that it wasn't even him. It was somebody else," Forbes explained. "And they had gotten it wrong. It's just another representation of some questions we had about the veracity of the allegations."