Emotions run high at Alek Minassian sentencing hearing

Many testified in pain, their voices choked with emotion, while other witnesses had to let the Crown read their statements, unable to do so in public.

Photos of the victims were projected one after the other on the big screen in the courtroom during their testimonies.

Poignant testimonies

Good Samaritans, survivors of the attack and loved ones of the victims have all relived the horror of April 23, 2018 in North York, describing the impact the tragedy has had on their lives over the past 4 years.

Pedestrians who tried to help victims said they lived with a sense of guilt because they did not know if they could have provided better care to the dying victims lying on the road.

Others said they suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder due to the chaos on Yonge Street that day.

Alek Minassian during his virtual trial in the second week of November 2020.

Photo: Radio-Canada/Pam Davies/The Canadian News

Survivors have listed in detail the physical suffering and the psychological sequelae they have endured for four years, not to mention the problems associated with work or family.

Perhaps the most horrific story came from Jun Seok Park, a Korean national who was studying in Toronto at the time, but her parents abandoned her after going broke to pay for her rehab treatments.

My parents went broke after staying in Toronto during my recovery to pay for my therapy and they blamed it on meshe said in tears.

Alek Minassian, you destroyed my past, my present and my futureshe added, addressing the murderer.

Jun Seok Park explained that she had run out of money, had exhausted almost all state aid, and found it difficult to work for a living.

Defense attorney Boris Bytensky.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pam Davies

The families of the victims mentioned for their part the immense void that the death of their loved ones left in their lives. They shared touching anecdotes about the shattered dreams they will never be able to achieve together again.

The D’Amicos were the most moving: the father, mother, sister and cousin of Anne-Marie D’Amico all recalled, inconsolable, the generosity of the young woman.

Our pain is indescribable, our grief insurmountable, his disappearance has plunged us all into a daily hellsays patriarch Rocco D’Amico.

Many have also said they have suffered from panic attacks or recurrent nightmares for four years. I’m still haunted by siren soundsexplained Irene McGillian.

Judge Anne Molloy read her verdict live on Youtube on March 3, 2021.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pam Davies

After each testimony, Justice Anne Molloy of the Ontario Superior Court commended the courage of those who testified in court.

Your family has been great in this ordealshe for example said to the sister of Anne-Marie D’Amico.

Tanya Kozous, who witnessed the tragedy, rescued one of the victims, but was unsuccessful.

It is very difficult for all those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this tragedy.she said outside the court after her testimony.

However, it is time to turn the page, but I hope that no one will forget this tragic day.she clarified.

Crown Attorney John Rinaldi.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Pam Davies

The Yonge Street Tragedy Commemoration Committee, which brings together neighborhood residents and businesses, said its members were always afraid to walk the thoroughfare and that no one would be prepared to survive such a tragedy.

He too promises that the victims of Alek Minassian will not be forgotten and that the anniversary of the tragedy will be commemorated each year.

Call for the press

Omar Najjar meanwhile addressed the media imploring them to stop pronouncing the name of the perpetrator of the attack so that his name falls into oblivion.

He also thanked the magistrate who had made the suggestion when she delivered her verdict on March 3, 2021.

Can’t you see you’re just satisfying this monster’s desire to establish notoriety for the harm it’s caused?he wonders after reading the statement of his mother too tearful to read it.

I myself am unable to love unconditionally and I am unable to forgive him for his crimes.he points out.

Some witnesses also questioned the senseless act of the accused, wondering how a man could have acted in this way without compassion while still showing no remorse.

My worst fear would be that he reoffends when he gets out of prison.explained Janet Jiang.

Request of the parties

Resigned, the Crown prosecutor, John Rinaldi, however, could not demand more than 25 years firm in accordance with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, which recently invalidated the accumulation of periods of ineligibility for parole.

Some witnesses, like Charlene McKay, had asked for justice to be done and for it to be proportionate to the seriousness of the crimes committed.

I hope Alek Minassian never gets out of prison, because I will be in the grip of his crimes for the rest of my life.she had hoped at the bar.

The Crown has never said whether it would have asked for at least two consecutive 25-year firm sentences to prevent Alek Minassian from ever being released from prison.

Alek Minassian’s lawyer, Boris Bytensky, in a scrum outside the North York court in September 2018.

Photo: Radio-Canada

However, the defense had already objected to this after the guilty verdict, arguing that such punishment was too cruel.

Me Rinaldi also never mentioned orally whether the Crown intended to withdraw the right of the assassin to obtain a credit of 6 years in prison for the time he spent in pre-trial detention.

Defense lawyer Boris Bytensky showed compassion by recalling that he agreed with the Crown’s request and that this hearing was not the place to address objections to some of the statements of the witnesses.

I don’t mean to be rude, but His Honor will know what is inappropriate in all these testimonies.he said, his voice choked.

Today is reserved for the families of victims and survivors and it would not be appropriate to address my concerns about certain details in these latest proceedings.he concluded.

Judge’s sentence

In her decision, magistrate Ann Molloy explained that her hands were tied by the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Bissonnette case in Quebec.

She said she understood those who were demanding justice by demanding a harsher sentence against Alek Minassian. I respect your choiceshe told them.

The judge nevertheless invited them to read the judgment of the Supreme Court of May 27, specifying that they will find comfort there.

However, she insisted that a firm 25-year sentence did not mean that Alek Minassian would be released from prison in 25 years, but that he was only allowed to apply for parole in 24 years (you must remove the year that has elapsed since the guilty verdict, editor’s note).

Flowers, lanterns and many messages written in several languages ​​were left at the scene of the tragedy on April 24, 2018.

Photo: Getty Images/Cole Burston

She thus suggests that the sentence she has just imposed is in fact a life sentence and that it will be up to the Parole Board of Canada to decide if he can one day be released on parole.

She asked the bomber if he had anything to add, but the multiple murderer declined her offer.

She then asked him to stand up, recalling, one by one, the 26 charges for which he was convicted.

By citing the count of attempted murder relating to Amaresh Tesfamariam, who succumbed to his injuries 3 and a half years after the attack, the magistrate took care to remind the murderer that it was indeed a murder.

The magistrate further qualified as very touching the statements of all the witnesses she has heard and she assured them that their letters will be sent to the Commission when it is time to hear Alek Minassian’s request.

Minassian can now be transferred from a provincial prison in Toronto to a penitentiary in the country whose location has not been specified.


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