An Ottawa software developer convicted of terrorism last October should be let off with time served, his defence lawyer told the judge at a pre-sentence hearing Thursday.

Jailed since March 29, 2004, Momin Khawaja has spent four years and 10 months at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.

If the 2-for-1 rule is applied, Khawaja has served the equivalent of 10 years.

“The time served exceeds the total recommended time,” defence lawyer Lawrence Greenspon told Ontario Superior Court Justice Douglas Rutherford after recommending a sentence of seven-and-a-half years.

“I’m asking the court to impose a sentence of time served.”

The 29-year-old Orleans resident, who worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs, was found guilty Oct. 29 of five of seven terrorism-related counts against him. He was the first person charged under Canada’s post-9-11 anti-terrorism legislation.

While Rutherford had charged Khawaja for “knowingly participating in or contributing to the activity of a terrorist group,” he found him not guilty of two terrorism charges relating to a foiled London bomb plot.

Greenspon asked the court to base its sentence on actions, not intentions. Although police seized detonator components, several assault rifles, ammunition and $10,000 in cash from Khawaja’s home in March 2004, he didn’t hurt anyone or anything with his remote-control bomb-detonating device, known as the Hi-Fi Digimonster.

Greenspon insisted there is a “huge difference” between detonating a bomb and killing people or destroying property and planning to do it.

Greenspon also suggested it was never Khawaja’s intention to detonate bombs in a large city, but rather explosive devices in Afghanistan where he wanted to be a soldier in the jihad against the west.

“It’s important for Mr. Khawaja to be sentenced on the least serious possibilities,” Greenspon said.

Crown David McKercher will be making his pre-sentence submissions next Thursday.

– With files from Torstar News Service

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