Sentence of Life Imprisonment for Murder in Terrorism Case

Toronto (Ontario) – August 26, 2021 – Saad Akhtar pleaded guilty today to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years. This is Canada’s first conviction under section 231(6.01) of the Criminal Code, which deems murder to be first degree if it is committed in the course of terrorist activity.

On February 21, 2020, the offender attacked Ms. Annie Hang-Kam Chiu with a hammer, beating her to death on the sidewalk of a street in Scarborough, Ontario. He selected Ms. Chiu at random. Later that evening he turned himself in to the Toronto Police Service. He confessed that he had abandoned his plan to commit multiple murders. He said his motivation was to commit a terrorist attack in the name of ISIS (a listed terrorist entity).

The offender acted alone. Apart from the ISIS propaganda that inspired him to act, there is no evidence that he was aided or abetted by anyone in the commission of this offence.

The case was jointly investigated by the Toronto Police Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and jointly prosecuted by the PPSC and the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. “The offender intended through this random act of violence to cause fear and insecurity,” said federal Crown attorney Jason Wakely. “As in all such acts of terrorism, no motivation justifies or can explain what remain brutal and senseless acts. While the sentence reflects society’s denunciation, it cannot address the loss suffered by the family of Ms. Chiu. We hope that this resolution can bring them some closure.”

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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