Interrogation of Byron Sonne, Toronto G20 hacker on trumped up charges for mocking G20 security

Here's a video of the interrogation of Byron Sonne (more on his case here) by Officer Tam Bui. Sonne is a Toronto hacker who was offended by the security theater associated with the Toronto G20, which involved $1.2 billion worth of "security" measures and thousands of illegal arrests and unprovoked beatings. Sonne is finally on trial, and this footage was released as part of the trial. In it, the officer spends an hour trying to get Sonne to admit to some "sinister plot" by telling him that his wife has been arrested and will not get bail if he isn't more forthcoming (Sonne and his wife later divorced).

VIDEO: How Byron Sonne Blinded Us With Science


  1. My guess is that he’ll eventually get off the hook.  It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to find him guilty (based on what’s been publicized).  The goal appears to be to discourage others from publicly pointing out holes in security theatre: “it might not be illegal, but we’re gonna make your life hell if you do it”.

  2. The problem is that I, as a local taxpayer, will be funding the inevitable settlements for wrongful arrest, malicious prosecution and whatever else.  I won’t get to see the line items in the police budget, because that’s ‘secret’, and the settlements will be made under non-disclosure agreements.

  3. What’s the difference between “We’ve arrested your wife, tell us what we want to hear, and we’ll release her ” and “We’ve kidnapped your wife, tell us what we want to hear, and we’ll release her.”

    A ransom demand does not always have to be about money, only about what the criminal considers valuable. In this situation, Tam Bui is the criminal. 

  4. That man needs to learn to shut his mouth. Police are not your friends, they are NEVER your friends (even if you think you’re the victim), no matter how nice they seem.


    “So you’re telling me you didn’t purchase any of the chemicals, to be used in making an explosive device, before February 2010?” 

    “I can’t give you exact days, my memory is  a little fried right now, but I can’t remember buying anything like that stuff before March” – congratulations, you idiot, you just admitted buying chemicals for making an explosive.

    The officer keeps telling him “I know your lawyer would tell you not to say anything right now” but he keeps talking… 

    I have a feeling that if he’d just said “I can’t discuss anything without my lawyer” he’d be in a lot less trouble right now.

      1. You’re not guaranteed an attorney present at questioning in Canada.

        You’re not guaranteed an attorney present at questioning anywhere.  What you’re guaranteed is access to an attorney if you request it, and the right to remain silent without that silence being considered incriminating.

        That means you can say “I don’t consent to speak without an attorney present” you’re saying “I choose to exercise my (guaranteed) right to silence, at least unless my (guaranteed) right to an attorney is fulfilled.”  The questioner may then decide whether to bother continuing to question you once your attorney shows up, or whether to end the questioning.

  5. A great illustration of why you just don’t talk. 

    The cop frames the discussion as “man-up and take responsibility else we drag your wife into this.” The only right answer is “Responsibility for what? Interview over.”

  6. I was very, very disheartened to see our politicians and police acting like American proto-fascists over the G20. 

    And all for a meeting that could have been held in a small town and cost .00001% of the price. 

    For an event designed to show Canada and Toronto putting its best feet forward… it was a huge failure on every level.

    1. It’s canny policework! I would want to know what the cop thinks of Israel. I bet it’s a more interesting opinion.

  7. note ‘stored history’

    at 40:39mins…

    Officer Tam Bui: ‘In the grand scheme of things, putting all these separate scenarios together, can’t you see how…’

    Byron Sonne: ‘Of course I can, but it all comes down to the one same thing, sir – i never had the intention to hurt anyone,  I never had any unlawful things’

    Officer Tam Bui: ‘If you had no intent and these things are not unlawful, why is there a stored history dating back to 2002 and 2006 of downloading these documents that are a handbook for creating these explosives?’

    Byron Sonne: ‘Because they are interesting to read!…’

  8. Bui doesn’t accept any of Sonne’s explanations for the contents of his house. Bui asks about a white powder in the fridge; Sonne says it’s almond flour. Bui asks about a tray full of rocks and crystals, “that’s kitty litter, officer,” Sonne says.

    I feel so much safer with stupid twats like this protecting me from kitty litter.

    1. It’s interesting that when people see this type of violation, they use the exact type of victim-blaming they use against victims of rape.

      Huh? Are we reading the same comment thread?

      I see a couple of comments saying, basically, “he’s being silly for talking without a lawyer present,” but that’s hardly the same as commenting on someone’s hemline!

    2. Exactly so. Everyone seems to be convinced that, given the same circumstances and the same stress levels, they’d do everything right: refuse further interrogation, shut their mouths. He, on the other hand, was stupid.

      And underlying that attitude, there’s a conformist frame of mind: don’t do things to raise the attention of the authorities, don’t be frank in the defence of your own and others rights…

      oh, the video and the reaction to it is too dismal evidence this late at night of the way we humans treat each other.

  9. Never talk to the police.
    Never talk to the police.
    Never talk to the police.

    Wait for your lawyer. 

    Waitasec, do they have the 5th amendment in Kanada?

    1. Waitasec, do they have the 5th amendment in Kanada?

      An equivalent, yes. Section 11 (c) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      11.  Any person charged with an offence has the right
      (c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;

  10. You made our plans look bad, so I need to show your evil.
    In my all consuming attempt to make you out to be the bad guy, I’m making myself look like a total moron.

    Seriously… ITS KITTY LITTER, the court should dismiss the case, apologize to Sonne, and then throw every moron who kept this farce going into jail for contempt of the law.  They are obviously to hysterical in their ability to assess things and should not be relied upon to provide safety to others.

  11. I’m watching this whole thing.  It’s amazingly nerve-wracking for Byron and he keeps his cool as well as anyone can.  Officer Tam Bui frustrates me to an insane amount.  He has no context for any of Byron’s actions outside of his criminal investigation background, and he’s building this big case out of thin air and misconstrued comments.  Never talk to the cops!
    40 minutes in, Officer Tam Bui tells Byron that the onus is on Byron to prove his innocence. Isn’t that a little backwards?

  12. “Canadian suspects of serious crimes do not have a constitutional right to have a lawyer present during questioning by authorities” – CTV

    “While the police must be respectful of an individual’s Charter rights, a rule that would require the police to automatically retreat upon a detainee stating that he or she has nothing to say would not strike the proper balance between the public interest in the investigation of crimes and the suspect’s interest in being left alone.” – text from the ruling, via JURIST

    The ruling also states that police can continue an interrogation even if the suspect refuses to talk. What happens (IANAL) from what I understand is that they simply hold extremely long interrogation sessions with suspects who try to remain silent. Most people probably can’t face hours and hours and hours of someone trying to get inside their heads without cracking.

  13. How Kafka-esque. It’s surprising just how naive Byron is. You wouldn’t expect that of someone as well-read as him. If you look at the police officer’s body language, listen to his voice and hear what he states over and over, he is lying to Byron. He has no intention of helping him and is trying to make the most pernicious and trumped up case he can against the guy. I cannot understand how Byron remains totally unaware of this, nor how he doesn’t see that they are *only* holding his wife to put pressure on him. That tactic is to just get leverage where apparently they otherwise had none. Doesn’t he notice just how convenient the timing of everything is!?

    As for the “explosives”, I wonder if a reasonable person, fully aprised of the facts, would conclude that Byron was indeed intending to make an explosive. I doubt it. And even if they did conclude that, whether that would be of concern. Without a motive to kill or evidence that he intended harm or had radical extremist views, then I don’t see a case there even if he outright admitted that he intended to make an explosive. 

    Another thing worthy of note is the material provided without context from “open sourcing the deep web”, whatever the hell that gibberish is supposed to mean. Actually, it means that computers somewhere automatically recorded every reference to “explosive” (such as that one right there), but without the context of the surrounding posts. Someone in intelligence has “helped the officer out” by passing this information to him and fed him some crap about “open sourcing the deep web”. That’s how they came to get that info. 

    A few years ago I figured out I lived (at the time) in a country which tapped more phones and computers than most other nations on earth. I bothered to reach out for a 4096 bit crypto key and sent emails to people with unencrypted headers like “polynomial time factorisation algorithm found”. I had security vans following me for months. I used to walk the wrong way down one way streets just for kicks. I was also blessed to live in a city where some of the alleys were too narrow for security vans. I found the sudden need to use those alleys for entertainment.

    One way people in that country knew about the government computer tapping is that they set up their computers to perform web operations at regular intervals, creating a periodic “signal”. They then monitored some router load associated with a government building long suspected of being a spy outfit. They did Fourier analysis on the load to the machines and detected their “signal” in the noise. Well, at least that is roughly how they said they figured it out. I never bothered to check out the precise details myself.

    All fun aside, two things really bother me about this sort of thing. One is that these people genuinely have nothing better to do than to persecute individuals. The second is that people like Byron aren’t the ones employed full time helping secure us from genuine threats. If people like him aren’t protecting us, just who is!?

  14. Notice, no table between them. The police officer attempts to establish a positive repore. Pays compliments and feigns ignorance, discusses side issues to distract and, subtly places pressure by implying family members are in danger but assures the person they are on their side.
    Interesting no hand cuffs and more comfortable conditions that the cells the person is being detained in.
    Also the implications the knowledge ie downloading information is a crime, youch. Also the search warrant, well the person is in prison and the premises already searched, anything found there after that search while the person is in detention can hardly be tied back to that person as they are no longer in control of the premises.

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