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Statements that Alek Minassian made to police the night after he was arrested and charged with allegedly driving a van down Yonge St., Toronto, killing many people, are to become public on September 27 following a decision by Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy Friday morning.
These statements were originally kept under a publication ban to maintain the integrity of the case against Minassian, but Judge Molloy doesn’t believe that releasing these statements will in anyway impede the sentencing of Minassian, the alleged van killer, sometimes referred to as the ‘Incel Killer’.
In July, Boris Bytensky, Minassian’s lawyer, asked that his client’s statements be placed under a publication ban until the trial ends. He worried that such publicity may make a fair trial difficult to guarantee for his client.
However, Justince Anne Molloy responded to this concern, writing, “It is hard to imagine a witness being called who will not already know that Mr. Minassian drove a van down a Toronto sidewalk killing and injuring many people.”
“Mr. Minassian’s arrest beside the van he had been driving was broadcast on television moments after it happened and was viewed by thousands of people, likely including those prospective witnesses who knew him, as it was available on the internet for all to see.”
Thus, Molloy finds that a publication ban will in no way affect the ruling in the case, and that people have a right to know why he did what he did.
“If all that is required to obtain a nonpublication order is the mere assertion that prospective witnesses would be tainted by obtaining other information about an accused, a nonpublication order would be available in virtually every trial before the courts. The result would be to effectively switch the presumption of an open court to a presumption of secrecy,” she stated.
“This was a tragedy with a wide and devastating impact within the Toronto community and beyond. People want to know why it happened,” Molloy wrote. “They are entitled to know what is happening at the trial devoted to finding the answer to that question.”
As such, Minassian’s statements to police are to be released on September 27.
Molloy went on to describe the primary issues of Minassian’s trial. As he confessed to being the driver of the van, Molloy does not feel proving this fact will be a controversial. Rather, Molloy says that the central issue will be Minassian’s “state of mind” leading up to and during the van attack.
Publication bans are also being lifted on related attacks, which Molloy believes may have been inspired by Minassian’s attack.
Minassian allegedly committed his deadly van attack on April 23, 2018. It occurred on Yonge St., Toronto in the business district and was widely televised and recorded by witnesses, including Minassian’s attempts at suicide by acting threateningly towards police officers in a bid that they would shoot him. They did not and Minassian was taken into custody without injury.
The deadly event rocked the city to its core.
“We know that we are strong and resilient and will not be thrown off course by one person or one act,” Mayor John Tory said at the time.
“The people who call this city home are shaken… but we will not be broken.”
Det. Sgt. Graham Gibson said that just seven minutes elapsed between the first 911 call and the arrest of 25-year-old Alek Minassian near Yonge Street and Sheppard Avenue. In that brief window of time, he allegedly mowed down 26 people, killing 10 and injuring 16, some critically.
“As you can imagine the investigation is extremely detailed and ongoing,” Gibson said. “At this time I am appealing to members of the public and the business community. If you have video of the incident or are a witness and have not spoken to an investigator I would ask you to reach out as soon as possible.”
It wasn’t long before the alleged killer’s motivations were revealed through his digital footprint. In particular, Minassian’s activity on Reddit revealed that his motivations seemed to stem almost exclusively from sexual frustrations. He even went so far as to self-describe as an ‘incel’ (involuntarily celibate). This led many to label him the ‘Incel Killer’.
As one would expect, most of the victims of his alleged attack were women.
Minassian’s court date is currently scheduled for February 10, 2020 and is expected to take months due to the severity of his crimes and the sheer amount of evidence.
He faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, reports the Toronto Sun.
The following is a list of the 10 victims of Minassian’s savage van attack, not including those injured:
- 22-year-old So He Chung
- 22-year-old Ji Hun Kim
- 30-year-old Anne Marie D’Amico
- 33-year-old Andrea Bradden
- 45-year-old Chul Min Kang
- 45-year-old Beutis Renuka Amarasinghe
- 80-year-old Dorothy Sewell
- 83-year-old Geraldine Brady
- 85-year-old Munir Najjar
- 94-year-old Mary Elizabeth Forsyth