Here's the full verdict in the Alek Minassian Toronto van attack trial
Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy announced her ruling during an unprecedented livestreamed reading on YouTube Wednesday morning, dismissing arguments that Minassian should not be held criminally responsible for his acts on account of having autism spectrum disorder.
Referring to the 28-year-old killer as "Mr. Doe" so as not to repeat his name and add to the killer's desired notoriety, Molloy stated that Minassian had "had been fantasizing about a crime such as this for over a decade."
"He was capable of understanding the impact it would have on his victims. He knew death would be irreversible. He knew their families would grieve," she stated when reading the conclusion of her ruling.
"He chose to commit the crimes anyway, because it was what he really wanted to do. This was the exercise of free will by a rational brain, capable of choosing between right and wrong."
The 28-year-old Richmond Hill native, who was 25 at the time of the vicious attack on Yonge Street, was thus found guilty and criminally responsible for all 10 charges of first-degree murder and all 16 charges of attempted murder against him.
"He freely chose the option that was morally wrong, knowing what the consequences would be for himself, and for everybody else. It does not matter that he does not have remorse, nor empathize with the victims. Lack of empathy for the suffering of victims, even an incapacity to empathize for whatever reason, does not constitute a defence under s. 16 of the Criminal Code. I therefore find that the defence has failed to establish on the balance of probabilities that Mr. Doe was incapable of knowing his actions were wrong within the meaning of s. 16 of the Criminal Code. Mr. Doe is criminally responsible for his actions. Accordingly, I find Mr. Doe guilty on all 26 counts on the indictment."
- Justice Anne Molloy in her ruling on the Toronto van attack case
Molloy's 69-page-long "reasons for judgement" document, published shortly after the reading on Wednesday, explains in great detail why she chose to throw out the "not criminally responsible" argument and find Minassian guilty on all 26 charges of murder and attempted murder.
"Mr. Doe planned in advance to carry out an attack by driving a rented van down the sidewalk on Yonge Street, with the intention of killing as many people as possible. He then carried out that plan, killing 10 people and injuring another 16 people," reads a portion of the ruling.
"There is no doubt that these actions were planned and deliberate. For the individual victims who died, all of the constituent elements for first-degree murder are established," it continues, noting that the sole issue up for decision was not whether Minassian killed and injured 26 people, but whether he should not be held criminally responsible for his actions in causing these deaths and injuries.
"Following his arrest, Mr. Doe was interviewed by Det. Rob Thomas at 32 Division... he made extensive inculpatory statements including that he had set out to kill people that day and that he had rented the van almost three weeks in advance, deliberately choosing one that would be small enough to manoeuvre on the sidewalk but large enough to inflict maximum damage," reads a portion of the ruling.
"He said he was motivated by the incel movement as he had been rejected by women and admitted that he frequented incel chatrooms on the internet. He paid tribute to mass murderers Elliot Rodger and Chris Harper-Mercer, with whom he claimed to have been in contact before they died."
"When asked if he had anything to say about the fact that he had killed and injured all those people, he stated, 'I feel like I accomplished my mission.'"
Below is the full text document, where you can read more about Minassian's early life, why he is thought to have carried out the van attack, what psychiatrists revealed in court, and why the defendant was found criminally responsible despite the argument that a mental disorder rendered him incapable of knowing that his actions were wrong.
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