Court Rules That Murder and Attempted Murder Were Terrorist Activity in Youth Case

Toronto – July 27, 2023 – On June 6, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court, sitting as a Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) court released its decision in a youth matter. The court found that the young person had committed terrorist activity motivated by the incel (involuntary celibate) ideology when he attacked two women at a spa.

On September 14, 2022, the young person pleaded guilty to first degree murder under ss. 235(1) and 231(2) and attempted murder under s. 239(1)(b) of the Criminal Code. Prior to sentencing, the Crown brought an application to have the offences as falling within the definition of terrorism. After hearing submissions, the court ruled that in the circumstances of this case, the offences fell within that definition.

At the time of the guilty plea, in an agreed statement of facts filed with the court, the young person admitted to entering the ‘Crown Spa’ on February 4, 2020, and attacking Ashley Arzaga, stabbing her 42 times with a sword causing her death. He also attacked another woman, stabbing and slashing her until she was able to take control of the sword and stab him in the back. She managed to escape while the youth lay injured.

This is the first terrorism prosecution in Canada involving incel ideology, which has been linked to numerous violent acts in Canada and internationally. Sentencing will occur at a later date.

“These attacks were acts of terrorism”, said George Dolhai, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions. “As with all terrorist activities, these attacks target the sense of security of all Canadians, but in this case the Court determined that they were designed to also intimidate women in particular.”

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is a national organization responsible for prosecuting offences under federal jurisdiction in a manner that is free of any improper influence and that respects the public interest. The PPSC is also responsible for providing prosecution-related advice to law enforcement agencies across Canada.

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