Canada trial for Toronto van attack suspect enters final day

Moira Warburton
·1-min read
Police officers wait for a search warrant in front of the home of Alek Minassian in Richmond Hill

By Moira Warburton

TORONTO (Reuters) - The trial of a man charged with killing 10 people in a 2018 van attack in Toronto will end on Friday, as Canadian prosecutors push to have him found guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Alek Minassian, 28, rented a van and drove it onto the sidewalk along Yonge Street in North York, a suburb just north of Toronto, striking passersby. He later told police detectives he was motivated by a desire to punish society for his perceived status as an "incel" - short for involuntary celibate - because he believed women would not have sex with him.

Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. He has not denied his role but entered a plea of "not criminally responsible" to the court via Zoom when the trial began in early November.

Defense lawyers argued that Minassian's diagnosed autism meant that he was not capable of making rational ethical choices.

Witnesses - including psychologists and Minassian's parents - were brought forward during the six weeks of trial to argue for or dispute that characterization of Minassian.

In their closing arguments, prosecutors said Minassian had "the capacity to make a choice."

"He never lost sight of the fact that society viewed his choice as wrong, and he made a choice to go ahead and commit the attack," prosecutor Joe Callaghan told the court on Friday.

Justice Anne Molloy has been presiding over the case. It is not yet known when she will announce a decision.

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Toronto; editing by Jonathan Oatis)