Toronto van attack accused finally hands over passwords
Sam Pazzano Courts Bureau
December 16, 2019
December 16, 2019 6:21 PM EST
Alek Minassian is shown in a photo from his LinkedIn page.
Red tape and computer troubles delayed the trial for the man police say killed 10 pedestrians and seriously injured 16 others as he drove along a busy Yonge Street sidewalk in 2018, court heard Monday.
Accused murderer Alek Minassian’s trial, which was initially scheduled to begin on Feb. 10, has been tentatively set for March 2.
Minassian’s lawyer Boris Bytensky blamed the delay on problems receiving his client’s psychiatric assessments from St. Joseph’s Health Centre.
“We’re running up against red tape and being told different things by different departments,” Bytensky told trial judge Justice Anne Molloy, who’s conducting the judge-alone trial.
Molloy wasn’t pleased with the hospital’s response to providing important documents for the trial, and offered the court’s assistance to speed up the process.
She offered to issue subpoenas compelling hospital officials “to come here and explain why they have not done it.”
Minassian is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder stemming from the April 23, 2018 attack.
His impulses were stoked by the involuntary celibacy (incel) community and previous rejection from women, he told police.
This case hinges on his state of mind at the time of the attack, not whether he was steering the vehicle, said Molloy.
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Accused van attacker's locked electronics could delay trial
Difficult legal road to prove Minassian not criminally responsible
Computer-related problems are also stalling the trial, said Bytensky.
Minassian finally gave his lawyer and the police passwords to his electronic devices on Monday.
A few weeks ago, Bytensky informed the court that Minassian’s heavily-encrypted devices were not easy to navigate, even with a password.
“This is like looking for needles in lots of different haystacks,” said Bytensky.
Crown attorney Joe Callaghan agreed the twin roadblocks of computer issues and access to St. Joseph’s have made starting the trial on the original date of Feb. 10 “unrealistic.”
Minassian will be back in court on Jan. 16, 2020.