Alek Minassian, the man who carried out the 2018 Toronto van attack, was found criminally responsible and guilty of ten counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.
In her March 3 decision released online, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy said the accused had a “functioning, rational brain” and spent a considerable amount of time planning the attack and weighing the consequences.
“He desperately wanted to achieve fame and notoriety,” Justice Molloy said, adding that he believed that negative attention for his actions would be “better than living in obscurity.”
“Even if he only worked this out intellectually… that is sufficient.”
On April 23, 2018, the 28-year-old Toronto man drove a rented cargo van down the busy sidewalks of Yonge Street in North York.
During his judge alone trial last year Minassian admitted to driving the van. His lawyers argued that he was not criminally responsible (NCR) due to his Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.
A person is found NCR if they were suffering from a mental disorder that rendered them “incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong,” according to Sec. 16 of the Criminal Code.
Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky argued that Minassian’s ASD left him without the ability to develop empathy, and he could not understand the consequences of the actions.
Justice Molloy rejected that argument.
Minassian, “freely chose the option that was morally wrong, knowing what the consequences would be for himself, and for everybody else,” she said in her decision.
“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.”
Justice Molloy referred to the crime as “one of the most devastating tragedies this city has ever endured.”
The attack claimed the lives of 22-year-olds Ji Hun Kim and So He Chung, 30-year-old Anne Marie D’Amico, 33-year-old Andrea Bradden, 55-year-old Beutis Renuka Amarasingha, 45-year-old Chul “Eddie” Min Kang, 83-year-old Geraldine Brady, 85-year-old Munir Abdo Habib Najjar, and 94-year-olds Mary Elizabeth Forsyth and Dorothy Sewell.
Many of the 16 others, who were wounded, survived the attack but sustained traumatic injuries.
Minassian will be sentenced at a later date.
SOURCES: CBC.CA, CP24.COM