Byron Sonne is an innocent man

Twitter's #freebyron hashtag is alive with the news that Byron Sonne, the Toronto-area security expert who was incarcerated and treated as a terrorist for pointing out and making fun of the security flaws in the $1.2B security scheme for the Toronto G20 summit, has been found Not Guilty on all counts.

A moment of sanity from the Canadian judicial system, and all it cost was Sonne's marriage, house, and freedom.

Here's our earlier Sonne pieces.



  1. Wow. Finally. I knew Byron from hacklab. And, well, my heart is with him. He’s a great human, I hope he can get his life together again and move on from this. I can’t even imagine what that would mean (or what he’s going through).

  2. It’s about time.  This should have been settled A LONG time ago…and by settled I mean the Crown saying “we’re sorry you got caught up in this because the police over-reacted, no charges will be laid”.

  3. Marriage, house, and freedom. A small price to pay?
    This is how the lesson is imparted by the corporate masters: innocent or not, you do not want to fuck with us.

  4. …I can’t believe I’ve never seen the “Free Byron!” thing in relation to this case before. Wonder how many people on Twitter or how much of the news media get the reference…

    1. My first thought was “Does he look like Fabio and have ridiculously well-conditioned hair?” 

        1. I’d be OK with pretentious and English, but his looks just pushed it right over the edge for me.

  5. There has to have been something a little more than just this to cause his marriage to fall apart.  This was probably just the tipping point.

    1. “Just” a year’s incarceration without trial, “just” prosecutors pressuring the spouses to denounce one another, “just” financial ruin from legal defence, “just” politicians and their subservient media toadies calling your spouse a terrorist?

      What the F’ing F do you expect a standard healthy marriage to be able withstand?

      1. I have a friend whose hubby just spent 4 years in the slam, went thru money troubles, job troubles and hard times taking care of 4 kids by herself too and their marriage is still going strong.  You can’t tell me Sonne had a perfect fairytale marriage before this happened. Sonne knew what he was doing was “testing the limits” and since his wife claims she knew nothing about what he was doing I can pinpoint one obvious problem in his marriage right off the bat…COMMUNICATION. “Hey honey, I’m purchasing bomb making material and trying to goad the authorities into thinking I’m a bomb threat. Cool?”

        1. You’re right, I can’t tell you that he had a “perfect fairytale marriage”, for two reasons:

          1) I don’t know the man or his ex, so I’m not qualified to comment, and nor are you.

          2) I do know that both of them are human, imperfect beings, and so their marriage is bound to be imperfect too.

          Not everyone is as strong as everyone else, not everyone has the same community of support.  Not everyone has prominent members of society (police chiefs, politicians, columnists) publicly accusing their spouse of being a terrorist.

        2.  Bomb making material? Bomb threat? Last I checked he wanted to make model rockets.

          And don’t denounce the argument because you’ve got an example that’s 2.5 out of the 4 things mentioned. Crazed media and politicians aren’t anything small.

    2. We could test that hypothesis easily by arresting a whole bunch of married couples on trumped up terrorism charges, incarcerating one partner for a year, refusing bail, bankrupting them with legal fees, and spinning out a trial in which their private hobbies are twisted by prosecutors into something evil and grotesque. And we could see how many marriages survive.

      I’ll be disappointed if BBNinja isn’t first in line volunteering to be a participant in said experiment…

      1. Geebo, I don’t need to volunteer for hypothetical marriage experiments I’ve done back to back deployments in the military, through stressful times, deaths in the family, money worries and more with 4 kids myself but according to you guys Sonne must have had a perfect marriage. I’m not saying he wasn’t wrongly imprisoned just that his marriage was probably already on rocky ground. And since his wife claims she knew nothing about what Sonne was doing, there’s one big problem right there…Communication. Sonne was testing the system’s limits. I’m not saying it’s not his right as a private citizen to question the authorities but 1. It is Canada. and 2. “Hey honey, I’m sorta goading the authorities into a massive security alert” might have been a good topic of discussion with one’s significant other.

        1.  I’ve done back to back deployments in the military, through stressful times, deaths in the family, money worries and more with 4 kids myself
          And you haven’t seen any of your comrades’ relationships crack under the strain of military deployment?  Or do you just say “Oh, my marriage was strong enough to withstand it so it must be their fault that theirs wasn’t, and not because military deployment is difficult”?

          Clearly, the strain of this particular case was enough, and of the right type, to break their marriage at one of its weak points.  No marriage is perfect, and for every marriage there is an added amount and type of strain that will be enough to break it.  For.  Every.  Marriage.

          When a marriage is (at least arguably) unnecessarily and deliberately placed under a lot of strain, and it cracks, I think it’s legitimate to assign blame to the people who created the strain, and not on the existence of the weakness that they were able to exploit to destroy a marriage.

          1. Put it another way:

            If person A gets in an argument with person B, B stabs A, and A turns out to be a hemophiliac and bleeds to death, do you blame
            – B, because he stabbed A to death
            – A, because he should have known better than to argue a point like that, and anyway he’s got hemophilia so it’s not really B’s fault, you can’t tell me A had a perfect fairytale serum level of Clotting Factor VIII, rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb

      2. Wait a minute…a whole year without my wife around…man I’d really have to weigh the pros and cons of that.

      3. Maybe that should be the next big reality tv show. I’m sure it would be something of a hit.

        …Sadly, I’m not joking.

  6. Time to start working his way up the chain from Officer Tam Bui, through the top cops, through the politicians who have commented on the case. Move on from #freebyron to #sonnejustice. Hopefully he isn’t forced (further) to accept a settlement.

  7. As a Usian, I’m curious.  Is the National Post the Canadian version of the Daily Fail?   

    1. It’s one of two national broadsheets.  The Globe and Mail is the other.  Both are relatively staid and stodgy.

      The National Post generally is the more conservative of the two, has somewhat more lurid coverage of spectacular murders and such, and has editorial and column content with more of a ‘get off my lawn’ slant.

      1. I appreciate the perspective because the National Post write up of Sonne’s acquittal read like it was dictated from Rupert’s lips. 

          1. Yeah.  I read the Globe’s article after I read the National Post and Toronto Sun (lousy reportage, those last two hosted).  Striking difference is a bit of an understatement.

  8. Should I be worried that I have more lab gear in my kitchen than Sonne was busted for having in his lab?  I mean, for a hacker, that was a really weak chem lab.

  9. Sonne’s Defense Lawyer (His Defense Lawyer!) Di Luca read out one message Sonne posted on a public forum during a discussion over security and surveillance around the summit. “I’ve ordered all sorts of lab equipment and chemical precursors in an attempt to purposely raise flags to get ‘the man’ to take a look at me,” Sonne wrote. “But no luck.”

    He was goading the authorities purposely, trying to raise red flags, trying to make them think he was making bombs and preparing to make good on real threats.  This was just the tip of the iceberg of Sonne’s apparent attempts to get himself arrested.

    That’s like me getting on an airplane and screaming “BOOOOOMMMMBBBBB!”, or posting threats against the President or the Prime Minister or what have you and on top of that purchasing lab equipments and chemicals that could be used to make bombs to make good on such threats.

    BoingBoing appears to have forgotten to mention these little tidbits…this “inconsequential side story” while it has been fervently telling us why we should all be entirely outraged about Sonne’s plight and his harmless model rocket hobby.

    Would anyone feel sorry for me if I got on a plane and starting talking about bombs, making everyone late for their connecting flights?  Does anyone feel sorry for those idiots that post open and direct threats against world leaders and have the “services” show up at their door and take them away for some very uncomfortable questioning?

    1. Would anyone feel sorry for me if I got on a plane and starting talking about bombs, making everyone late for their connecting flights?

      I don’t think I would feel sorry for you in many circumstances at all.

    2. To cause havoc on a plane in the US one merely needs to be brown or appear “Muslim” people fill in the bomb and such with their imaginations.

      Now the actual case was about him trying to subvert them because he made a mockery of the way the law was being violated to “secure” this event.  These things had to be done and he was a terrorist.  His crime was pointing out that their planning was paying alot of money to experts who didn’t know their job and destroying peoples rights.

      While he might have ordered some things in an attempt to goad them, you ignore the inverse which is if he was a bad actor out to destroy the conference they entirely missed him.  It was only him publicly highlighting their failure to secure the shindig and trample on regular citizens that brought any of this to light.

      While he might have goaded them, they have proven that they do not know how to secure anything, and if you point out the emperor is naked they will make a federal case out of it to make sure the next person doesn’t point out the flaws.  And that will work until someone decides to exploit one of those flaws and suddenly people ask questions about why this wasn’t caught in time.

      You also manage to gloss over these “security” experts who were unable to identify cat litter with odor control crystals as cat litter.  This was a railroaded case and I am sure he never expected it to go this far, but maybe just maybe if people look at the real stories here rather than your screaming nothing to see he he was just as asshole, they might see that security hysteria is not a reason to give up our rights, and that even paying this much money they can’t do the damn job.

  10. BBNinja,

    You keep trying to make virtually the same comment over and over.  That’s not going to convince anyone.  Except maybe convincing them that you’re raving.

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