OTTAWA -- A man who once auditioned for the Canadian Idol TV show has pleaded not guilty to a terrorism charge.

Khurram Syed Sher, a doctor of pathology from London, Ont., is being tried by judge alone in Ontario Superior Court.

Sher, wearing a grey suit and blue tie, observed the proceedings from a small table near his counsel.

During initial arguments, one of Sher's lawyers, Giuseppe Cipriano, made preliminary points about the legal nature of conspiracy as it relates to the charge.

Sher, 31, was charged in August 2010 with conspiracy to facilitate terrorism.

Following the high-profile arrest, police said they seized terrorist literature, videos and manuals, along with dozens of electronic circuit boards allegedly designed to detonate homemade bombs remotely.

Police claim the alleged plot stretches from Ottawa to Afghanistan, Dubai, Iran and Pakistan.