Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Court hears victims of the London attack | London attack: trial of the accused

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Only a relative of the Afzaal family testified during the trial; 69 others now want to present statements to the court.

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile) Katherine Brulotte

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At a hearing that begins today in Ontario Superior Court in London, dozens of relatives of the four family members Afzaal killed in June 2021 truck attack addresses court.

Judge Renee Pomerance spent two days in these sentencing hearings after receiving 69 notices of testimony. Victim impact statements may be filed in writing or presented orally by those affected by a crime as part of sentencing hearings.

However, in this case, most of the victims said they wanted to present their statements in person.

This number of statements may be unprecedented , declared the magistrate during a preparatory hearing last November. This likely reflects the unprecedented nature of this case, she said.

The trial was held in Windsor because the judge determined that the extent of media coverage and comments from politicians condemning the attack made it difficult to hold an impartial trial with jurors living in London. The hearings in early January took place in London to facilitate the participation of the victims' loved ones.

London attack : trial of the accused

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London attack: trial of the accused

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Nathaniel Veltman was convicted by a jury of the premeditated murders of four members of the Afzaal family after he intentionally rear-ended the family in his van. He was also convicted of attempted murder of a nine-year-old child who survived the collision.

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Yumna Afzaal, 15 years old, Madiha Salman, 44 years old, Talat Afzaal, 74 years old and Salman Afzaal, 46, died after being grabbed by the murderer.

A guilty verdict on first-degree murder charges leads directly to a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Judge Renee Pomerance will also have to examine the facts as part of the proceedings and could determine that the actions also constituted a terrorist act within the meaning of the law.

Such a designation would be a first in the country and could set a precedent and dictate the way in which justice deals with acts of violence motivated by ideologies or political ideals.

To reach this conclusion, the magistrate will be able to rely on all of the evidence presented at trial, on arguments from the lawyers in this case and on additional evidence which could be filed during another hearing which will take place on January 23.

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Christopher Hicks and Peter Ketcheson portray Nathaniel Veltman.

One ​​of the murderer's lawyers, Peter Ketcheson, however, affirmed that he would oppose the designation of his client as a terrorist as soon as the verdict was delivered. Such a designation could have an impact on possible parole board hearings, he said, emphasizing at the same time that any determination made by the judge could have repercussions on the type of services he will receive. during his detention.

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