Closing week of Toronto's G20 hacker trial: hackers love explosions

Denise Balkissoon writes, "This is the last week of the trial of Byron Sonne, computer security consultant charged with explosives after the G20. This week, his defence called Fryderyk Supinski, who was a member of a hackerspace with Sonne. The two had planned on building model rockets together. Sonne is charged with four counts of possessing explosives. His defence is that he had the stuff to make rocket fuel. The Crown says that was a ruse."

Sonne is charged with four counts of possessing explosive materials, which the Crown Attorney contends he was going to use to make the explosives TATP, HMTD, HDN and ANFO. On the witness stand, Supinski spoke about Sonne’s various scientific hobbies, including one that the two planned to take up together—building high-powered model rockets. The defence contends that many of the chemicals in Sonne’s home were purchased with rocket fuel in mind, and that Sonne stopped his experiments with them when he realized he first needed government certification.

Both Sonne’s defence lawyers and Crown Attorney Elizabeth Nadeau zeroed in on logs of chats from May 2010 that Sonne and Supinski had on the internet relay channel maintained by Hacklab. In one, Supinski warned Sonne of the dangers of explosions when experimenting with engines. “Yep, that’s why I’m going so slow,” Sonne had replied.

Nadeau made much out of Sonne’s discussions about explosions in the public chat room. Sonne and other chatters shared videos of explosions at industrial plants—“around 35 there’s a great shot of workers in a nearby business catching the shockwave,” wrote Sonne about one—and Sonne linked to a clip from David Cronenberg’s Scanners, a science fiction with a famous exploding head scene. “Does everyone at Hacklab like explosions?” Nadeau asked Supinski. “Explosions are cool,” he replied, pointing to the explosion segments on the popular TV show Mythbusters. “I have an interest in explosions.”

With final submissions, end may be in sight for Byron Sonne trial (Thanks, Denise!)

(Image: Explosion, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from 36158213@N07's photostream)


  1. Next up: Canada bans action movies. Too much action. And way too many explosions. (Won’t somebody think of the explosions?)

    Implosions, however, remain completely legal.

  2. I’m guessing the chemical factory explosion video they shared is the one of the rocket fuel plant that exploded near vegas. Pretty harmless and relevant when discussing the dangers of making rocket fuel.

  3. i ve linked the Scanners scene to friends many times, it s a famous classic horror moment – does that mean im a terrorist?   the legal systems need to literalize  content is idiotic.  ON a darker note, while it obvious that Sonne should have obtained the necessary permits, I still sense a deep suspiscion on the part of authorities (state corporate or other) towards individual citizens able to conduct advanced scientfic projects on a personal basis.  It seems to betray a deep distrust of the individual in our society.

  4. Does the government there actually have some kind of tangible proof of intent?  
    I mean Jean Sibelius liked to blow up stuff and he wrote music.
    I hope this poor fellow is compensated for the government’s foolishness.

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