Jack MacLaren, the 33-year-old Canadian man who has been in jail for more than a decade after he brandished a tusk to stop a terrorism suspect from being executed, was granted a royal pardon on Monday by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The pardon applies to MacLaren’s 2001 conviction for involvement in the plot to kill Mahammad Zaher Hashim, a Canadian citizen who had served time in prison for killing his wife after a drunk-driving accident. MacLaren pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to a 21-month prison term, although he has been in jail since 2002.
MacLaren, the youngest and only person charged in the case, appeared at the Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year to have his sentence reduced. Earlier this month, the court upheld the prosecution’s appeal to have the sentence reconsidered. The trial judge, Justice Michael Penny, found that MacLaren’s actions were the result of an “imprudent, idealistic and easily manipulated plea.”
In granting the pardon, Mr. Trudeau cited “Mr. MacLaren’s strong family and community ties, his ongoing sobriety, his service to society, his positive contribution to his community and his contribution to his marriage.” The pardon does not extinguish any of the charges against MacLaren, and his conviction remains on his criminal record.
The pardon comes in the midst of heightened concerns about Canadian nationalism, with Trudeau’s Liberal government having pledged to bring back the the War Measures Act, which allows for the use of military troops against the public.