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Sonne's open intentions debunks charge that he planned G20 bombing, trial hears

Byron Sonne, 39, who's trial began Monday, leaves the courthouse in Toronto. Police allege he assembled homemade explosives and incited others to tear down the G20 security fence and surveillance cameras through his Twitter and Flickr accounts.

Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail/Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail

The idea that Byron Sonne was planning to blow up the G20 summit flies in the face of his openly stated intentions to expose security gaps at the gathering, his lawyer said Friday.

In closing submissions, the defence pointed to numerous e-mails Mr. Sonne wrote in which he was upfront about his activities ahead of the G20 in June 2010.

"He was doing exactly what he said he was doing, and he said it more than once," lawyer Joe Di Luca told Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy Spies.

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Mr. Di Luca read out one message Mr. 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," Mr. Sonne wrote. "But no luck."

Mr. Di Luca noted that Mr. Sonne amassed chemicals and other materials in the months before the summit under his own name, using his own address, and with his own credit card.

"If he's collecting chemicals to build bombs to set off at the G20 or elsewhere, why would he tell anybody?" Mr. Di Luca said. "None of this is hidden or secretive."

Police found no bombs when they arrested Mr. Sonne, 39, just days before the summit.

They did seize an array of chemicals from his upscale Toronto home, including various acids and hexamine fuel tablets along with laboratory apparatus.

Mr. Sonne is charged with four counts of possessing explosives, and one of counselling to commit mischief not committed.

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One expert testified that Mr. Sonne could have made a bomb within hours or days big enough to destroy a bus.

The Crown maintains Mr. Sonne had an "obsession" with explosives and that it only needs to prove he planned to make bombs, not that he already had them or what he wanted to do with them.

Still, Mr. Di Luca said the Crown was implying Mr. Sonne planned to attack the summit even though there was no evidence to back that up.

"There's nothing suggesting a connection between Mr. Sonne and the Black Bloc and any of the nefarious activities at the G20," Di Luca noted.

Mr. Sonne has said he bought the chemicals for his rocketry hobby, something the prosecution portrayed as a ruse to disguise his more nefarious intentions.

Mr. Di Luca argued that Mr. Sonne had a "verifiable, legitimate interest in rocketry." He described Mr. Sonne as an intelligent and skilled man with an eclectic set of interests.

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"So what? He has a lot of interests. He's a tinkerer. He's a builder."

While some of Mr. Sonne's hobbies and views might "leave other people uncomfortable," they don't make him a criminal, Mr. Di Luca said.

Earlier Friday, prosecutor Liz Nadeau agreed with Justice Spies that many of the chemicals Mr. Sonne had have "everyday uses and can be found in many people's homes," but said the quantities went beyond normal usage.

Court has also seen hundreds of photos Mr. Sonne took of surveillance cameras, police and the security fence set up downtown along with suggestions he made on how to scale the barrier.

Ms. Nadeau said Mr. Sonne knew people were planning to riot at the summit and was "more than reckless" with his photos and postings about the security fence.

Mr. Sonne spent 330 days in jail before being released from custody on bail last May.

The defence wraps up its closing submissions on Monday.

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