More absurdity in the trial of G20 hacker, Byron Sonne

Denise Balkissoon continues her excellent coverage of the trial of Byron Sonne, the Toronto security researcher who was arrested and prosecuted (persecuted, even) after publishing material about the security theater entailed by the G20's $1.2B, draconian policing plan. As Sonne's trial progresses, the absurdity of the case against him becomes clearer and clearer.

For those interested in the spirit of the law, the trial ranges from farcical to frustrating. Section 11 of the Charter guarantees the right to a speedy trial, and it's already been 18 months since Sonne was first arrested. On November 17, Crown Attorney Elizabeth Nadeau requested permission to re-interview an explosions expert from Defence Research and Development Canada who testified during the preliminary trial in February. Nadeau wanted to ask questions about Sonne's model rocketry hobby, based on a piece in Toronto Life (full disclosure: written by this same reporter). Spies became annoyed, asking why the Crown was mentioning this now when the article was published in the spring. She then sighed and began looking at her calendar. The criminal trial could be delayed until February, possibly later.

That model rocketry might explain the chemicals in Sonne's house isn't a new idea to the Crown: it's what Sonne has been saying ever since his arrest. Most of the week was spent discussing when the accused first spoke with his lawyer. On the stand this past week, a number of police officers testified that Sonne was denied a phone call for hours because they didn't want him to call an accomplice who would set off an explosion. All of them also said that he told them about his interest in building model rocket engines.

Perhaps that's not a plausible answer. It certainly wasn't for Detective Tam Bui, who questioned Sonne at length both before and after he had spoken with his lawyers. In two interrogation videos taken in June 2010 and shown in court this week (one you can see here), 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. Bui asks about various chemicals; Sonne tells him that he makes model rockets and is an "amateur farmer."

Lies and Videotape: Byron Sonne trial continues