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London attack: accused guilty of premeditated murder of Muslim family | Attack London: trial of the accused

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Nathaniel Veltman was found guilty on Thursday. (Archives)

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile)Katherine Brulotte

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Nathaniel Veltman was found guilty premeditated murders of four members of the Afzaal family at the wheel of his van in June 2021. He is also guilty of attempted murder targeting the youngest of the family, who survived the ram truck attack. /p>

Yumna Afzaal; his parents, Madiha Salman and Salman Afzaal; along with his grandmother, Talat Afzaal, died on June 6, 2021. The child survived but was seriously injured.

The Jury has been deliberating since late Wednesday afternoon. Nathaniel Veltman remained impassive as the verdict was read.

As he leaves court, defense attorney Christopher Hicks said his client is in shock because he knows he faces 25 years in prison.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The lawyer also clarified that he does not rule out the possibility of appealing this decision. We'll start by absorbing this verdict. Then we will receive instructions from our client. And we'll see what we're going to do.

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From left to right, the four people killed during the attack on the 6 June 2021 in London: Yumna Afzaal, 15 years old; his mother, Madiha Salman, 44; his paternal grandmother, Talat Afzaal, 74; and his father, Salman Afzaal, 46.

London attack: trial of the accused

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London attack: trial of the accused

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Even before the jurors enter the room, the tension was palpable.

The judge asked those in the courtroom to avoid reacting visibly to the verdict. However, the members of the Muslim community present in the room when the verdict was pronounced could not help but express their relief. Some people shed tears and many hugged each other.

The judge thanked the jurors for their work.

Then, as she left the court, Tabinda Bukhari, Madiha Salman's mother, read a prepared statement surrounded by the victims' relatives.

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Tabinda Bukhari read a statement surrounded by relatives of the victims.

First responders, police, those at the scene, witnesses, Crown prosecutors, jury , judge, people involved in this quest for justice: we can never thank you enough, she said, with a lump in her throat.

He intended to instill fear and terror in our hearts. However, this was not an attack on all Muslims, but an attack on the safety and security of all Canadians.

For his part, Ontario Premier Doug Ford highlighted the verdict on social media X. Today, justice was served for the Afzaal family and for a community still in mourning. Nothing can bring back the innocent lives lost in this senseless murder. Let's honor their memory by continuing to fight against Islamophobia in all its forms, we can read in his publication.

It's about #x27;a victory for the Crown, which argued that the actions committed constituted premeditated murder in circumstances of terrorism. However, she did not specifically file terrorism charges. The terrorist context was rather put forward as one of the theories that could explain the premeditation of the actions.

In her instructions to the jury on Wednesday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Renée Pomerance explained to jurors that two explanations could lead to a verdict of premeditated murder:

During sentencing hearings, the judge will have to analyze the evidence and could determine whether it was an act of terrorism. Both parties will be able to offer their opinions to this effect and present additional evidence.

Me Hicks explained to the journalists present that the judge will be able to adopt her own vision of the facts. The jury's decision does not say whether they found [my client] guilty of first degree murder under the Criminal Code […] or because of the terrorism allegations. We do not know it. We cannot ask the jury any questions. We'll see what the judge says at the sentencing hearing.

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Defense lawyer Christopher Hicks answered reporters' questions as he left court.

Under Canadian law, jury deliberations and the reasons for a verdict are secret, so lawyers and the public will not know how or why the jury reached its decision. They do not have to specify whether terrorism was a factor in their decision.

Mr. Hicks also specified that this case is historic: it is the first trial in Canada for premeditated murder before a jury where terrorism is considered.

It will influence the way violent acts are handled in justice in Canada, says Jack Rozdilsky, professor of emergency management and radicalization expert at York University.

This cause will help draw a map for how we deal with acts of violence committed by extremists in Canada.

A quote from Jack Rozdilsky, professor of emergency management at York University

A sentencing hearing will be held on December 1.

According to the Code criminal of Canada, premeditated murder is punishable by life imprisonment.

  • Katherine Brulotte (View profile)Katherine BrulotteFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116