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G20 suspect denied bail Add to ...

The computer-security expert facing explosives, weapons and mischief charges in relation to the G20 will stay in jail for the foreseeable future.

Justice of the Peace Mary Anne Ross-Hendricks denied bail to Byron Sonne Tuesday morning. The bail hearings, which have stretched out over nearly a month, are all covered by a publication ban - as are the reasons behind the justice of the peace's decision to keep Mr. Sonne incarcerated.

Mr. Sonne, who watched Justice Ross-Hendricks intently during the hearing, widened his eyes and grimaced when she announced her decision but was otherwise unemotional.

His mother Valerie Sonne appeared to tremble slightly when the verdict was read. His father Absjorn Sonne was silent as he listened to the proceedings with arms outstretched and elbows resting on the back of the court bench in front of him.

Wearing a cream-coloured sweater, Byron Sonne blew his parents a kiss before he was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.

Valerie and Absjorn Sonne, who have driven to every Toronto hearing from their Brampton home, declined to comment afterwards. About half a dozen of Mr. Sonne's friends from HackLab, a Toronto hacker collective, attended the hearing as well.

"We're obviously disappointed with the result. … [Mr. Sonne]is also disappointed," said his lawyer Breese Davies.

"We will consider the options in terms of the bail review and start preparing for his trial. … He has the right to seek a bail review, and we will do that in due course."

Ms. Davies added that the time it took the justice of the peace to consider whether to grant Mr. Sonne bail isn't unusual in a case involving charges as serious as these.

Mr. Sonne is due for a routine court appearance next Wednesday morning.

The 37-year-old Toronto-based computer-security expert was charged shortly before the G20 summit in Toronto. He was arrested June 22, following a police raid of the Forest Hill home he shares with his wife, Toronto-based visual artist Kristen Peterson.

Ms. Peterson was charged days later, following further police searches of family properties in Tiny Township and Lake of Bays.

Mr. Sonne is accused of possessing a potato gun, mischief, intimidating peace officers and possessing the ingredients for tri-acetone triperoxide - a volatile explosive notorious for its use in suicide bombs.

Ms. Peterson is charged with explosives and dangerous weapon possession. She was released on bail June 26, and is residing with her parents.

Among her bail conditions are the stipulations she have no direct or indirect contact with her husband except in the presence of lawyers.

She is not allowed to be in possession of any kind of weapon, including explosives, is not allowed to use the Internet to access websites or social networking sites controlled by Mr. Sonne, and is prohibited from accessing Mr. Sonne's financial records.

Mr. Sonne's friends and acquaintances have argued he's simply a geeky researcher and provocateur who took his hobbies to extremes but was entirely benign in his intentions.

Any desire to push the boundaries or look more deeply into the flaws of police security systems was purely academic, they say.

The Certified Information Systems Security Professional (although his certification has been suspended now that he faces criminal charges), who has worked at Webkinz, nCircle Network Security and FSC Internet, isn't the only security expert in the family. His father-in-law, John Peterson, owned Digital Security Controls Ltd., an electronic security company that was later bought by Tyco International. Mr. Peterson holds multiple alarm-system patents.

Mr. Peterson also holds the million-dollar mortgage on the couple's Forest Hill home.

Mr. Sonne had mused among friends - both in person and online - about the possibility of monitoring police actions, both in general and specifically related to the G20. His Twitter account points out potential flaws in the G20 security fence; his Flickr photo account documents the location of CCTV cameras across Toronto's downtown core.

In a post to an online discussion thread late last fall, friends from HackLab say, Mr. Sonne said he had "ordered all sorts of lab equipment and chemical precursors in an attempt to purposefully raise flags and get 'the man' to take a look at me... but no luck. Everything's arrived with minimal delay, I've successfully passed several police and RCMP background checks for various licenses, crossed into the USA multiple times with zero hassle... so draw your own conclusions."

The charges of intimidating members of the justice system - one by threat and one by "watch and beset" - are rarely used, and fairly new. They're usually associated with people who stalk and threaten judges and jury members and are not commonly used in Canada.

 

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