Judge refused to name the accused because he was seeking fame
The man who carried out the 2018 Toronto van attack that killed 10 people and injured 16 others was declared guilty of the 26 counts brought against him, including 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, according to a verdict issued on Wednesday.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy said in her verdict that the accused was seeking media attention with the Yonge Street van attack. Molloy said she no longer wished to name the accused, and she called him John Doe.
Molloy said April 23, 2018 was a beautiful day in Toronto. Residents were out in abundance on Yonge Street, going about their business.
“Unfortunately, April 23, 2018 was also the date selected by John Doe, weeks in advance, as the day he would kill as many residents of Toronto as possible,” she said.
Molloy said Doe was hoping to be killed by responding police officers following the attack. However, Doe ended up being taken into custody at the scene.
The trial began in November, and it was held without a jury.
Doe did not dispute the facts that he carried out the attack. But his defence lawyer said he should be found not criminally responsible for his actions because he has autism spectrum disorder.
Molloy said the evidence at the trial, including the testimony of the expert witnesses, made it clear that the not criminally responsible defence would not apply in this situation.
“Mr. Doe thought about committing these crimes over a considerable period of time and made a considered decision to proceed,” she said. “His attack on these 26 victims that day was an act of a reasoning mind, notwithstanding its horrific nature, and notwithstanding that he has no remorse for it and no empathy for his victims.”
A conviction for first degree murder carries an automatic penalty of life imprisonment, with no parole eligibility for 25 years. However, a judge can impose a longer period of parole ineligibility when dealing with a person convicted of multiple murders.
Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement that there will never be complete closure for the families of the victims who died, those who were injured, and the city as a whole. Tory said the conclusion of these proceedings will help people heal.
“My focus today – as it has been every day since this terrible tragedy – is on those 10 innocent people who lost their lives, on the 16 innocent people who were injured, and all the friends, families, bystanders, whose lives were forever changed,” said Tory.
He said the attack was fuelled by misogyny and should be treated as such. He urged people to stand up against this hateful behaviour and those who promote it.
The 10 fatal victims of the attack include Renuka Amarasingha, Andrea Bradden, Geraldine Brady, Anne Marie D’Amico, Sohe Chung, Betty Forsyth, Chul Min “Eddie” Kang, Ji Hun Kim, Munir Najjar, and Dorothy Sewell.