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Judge finds Toronto van attack killer guilty of murder – CBC.ca

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A judge has declared that the man responsible for Toronto’s deadly van attack in 2018 is guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

In rendering her decision, which was broadcast on YouTube Wednesday morning, Justice Anne Molloy said Alek Minassian’s rampage was “the act of a reasoning mind,” and noted that the 28 year old has “no remorse for it and no empathy for his victims.”

“He freely chose the option that was morally wrong, knowing what the consequences would be for himself, and for everybody else,” Molloy said in her decision. “It does not matter that he does not have remorse, nor empathize with the victims.

“Lack of empathy for the suffering of victims, even an incapacity to empathize for whatever reason, does not constitute a defence.”

The man had pleaded not guilty at the judge-alone trial, which was held virtually at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Canada, a first-degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years.

Justice rejected defence’s autism argument 

Defence lawyer Boris Bytensky said in his closing arguments that his client’s autism disorder left him without the ability to develop empathy, arguing that his client had no idea how horrific his actions were to his victims, his family and the community.

Molloy outright rejected that notion in her decision, which you can read in full at the bottom of this story.

“He considered the impact it would have on his family, and deliberately set those thoughts aside, ignoring them, because he did not want them to deter him from achieving this important goal,” she said, noting that he had been fantasizing about a crime like this for over a decade. “He was capable of understanding the impact it would have on his victims.

“He knew death would be irreversible. He knew their families would grieve.”

WATCH | Remembering the victims of the Toronto van attack:

Elwood Delaney, who lost his 80-year-old grandmother Dorothy Sewell in the attack, told CBC News that watching the judge give her decision was extremely emotional for his family.

“I don’t want to say happy, but we were relieved,” he said.

“I’ve held a lot of anger towards him this whole entire time. Knowing that he’s going to be locked up for a very long time … is a relief.”

Delaney said his grandmother was one of Canada’s biggest sports fans, and was a fervent follower of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Blue Jays. 

“Every time I watch sports … I constantly think of her,” he said. “I miss her a lot. We all do.”

WATCH | Man remembers grandmother who was killed in Toronto attack:

Elwood Delaney, from Kamloops, B.C., lost his 80-year-old grandmother, Dorothy Sewell, in Toronto’s deadly van attack in 2018. Speaking to CBC News on Wednesday after a judge declared the man responsible in the attack guilty, Delaney said he’s relieved, adding that he’s “held a lot of anger.” He’s now hoping he and other families can start to put the event behind them. 1:47

Crown lawyer praises everyday people at scene

Speaking outside the courthouse after the decision was read, Crown attorney Joe Callaghan lauded the actions of the first responders who attended the scene, and read off the names of everyone killed in the attack.

“In addition, a neighbourhood was attacked, leaving its residents fearful and traumatized,” he said.

Callaghan also commended the actions of everyday people who were on the street that day, who tried to help victims who had been struck and comforted the dying.

“They demonstrated a remarkable level of selflessness and empathy, reflecting the true community spirit of this city,” he said.

Cathy Riddell, who was badly injured in the attack, also told reporters outside the courthouse that she feels justice has been done.

“I probably will sleep tonight for the first time in a while,” she said.

“He can spend the rest of his life in jail, because he deserves it … he took lives, and he didn’t care.”

WATCH | Family members, victim and Crown attorney react to judge’s decision:

Victims and family members who lost loved ones spoke to the media outside the courthouse moments after a judge declared the man responsible for Toronto’s deadly van attack guilty. Speakers included Cathy Riddell, who was severely injured in the 2018 attack, along with relatives of Anne Marie D’Amico, who was killed. Here’s what they had to say. 3:01

Police say on the afternoon of April 23, 2018, the killer drove a rented van down Yonge Street near Finch Avenue, veering onto the busy sidewalk and hitting one person after another.

After a brief standoff with a police officer, he was arrested. His victims included Sewell, who was killed, and another woman who survived but had both of her legs amputated as a result of injuries suffered in the attack.

Molloy made sure to say the name and age of each of the victims in her decision. She also listed the serious, and in some cases life-changing injuries suffered by those who survived, including broken bones, bleeding on the brain and a collapsed lung.

The judge also said she would not be naming the killer in her decision and referred to him instead as “John Doe,” noting that notoriety was a driving force in his crimes.

“I am acutely aware that all of this attention and media coverage is exactly what this man sought from the start,” she said.

CBC News will continue to use his name, in some instances, for clarity.

Toronto van attack victim Cathy Riddell speaks with the media outside the Superior Court of Justice on March 3, 2021. She says she has no memory of the incident itself. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Autism group relieved at verdict

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the Ontario Autism Coalition said it was relieved at Molloy’s decision, and said it was a “firm rejection” of the use of autism as a defence.

“Violent traits have no connection to autism; in fact, people on the autism spectrum are far more likely to be victims as opposed to perpetrators of violence,” the statement reads.

“The court’s decision makes it clear this was never a case of autism causing mass murder, but rather a case where someone who committed mass murder happened to have autism.

“An autism diagnosis does not predispose one to commit acts of violence.”

The killer told police his rampage was a mission for the incel movement, an online subculture of so-called “involuntarily celibate” men who direct their misogynistic rage at women. But Molloy noted in her decision that he also made mention in interviews of making that connection purely to upgrade the notoriety of his actions.

Molloy said the killer has never shown any pleasure or sense of satisfaction to have killed or injured women, apart from the notoriety his crimes have brought to him.

“Accordingly, I agree with the assessors that [the killer’s] story to the police about the attack being an ‘incel rebellion’ was a lie,” the judge wrote.

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Citigroup lawyer says another bank made bigger payment error than Revlon

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lawyer for Citigroup Inc told a U.S. judge on Friday he was aware of another large bank that recently made a bigger payment error than Citigroup made last August when it sent $894 million of its own money to Revlon Inc lenders.

Neal Katyal, the lawyer, made the disclosure at a hearing in Manhattan federal court, where Citigroup urged U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman to extend a freeze on $504 million that it has been unable to recoup from the Revlon lenders.

Katyal did not identify the bank, the size of the payment error, or whether the error was fixed.

Citigroup is appealing Furman’s Feb. 16 decision that 10 asset managers, whose clients include Revlon lenders, could keep its mistaken payments.

Furman accepted the asset managers’ argument that Citigroup, as Revlon’s loan agent, paid what they were owed, and they had no reason to think a sophisticated bank would blunder so badly.

Citigroup has said the lenders received a “windfall,” and Furman’s decision could steer banks away from doing wire transfers in a “finders, keepers” marketplace.

Katyal is a partner at Hogan Lovells and former Acting U.S. Solicitor General. Citigroup hired him for its appeal.

 

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Diane Craft)

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Canada aims to raise safety along notorious “Highway of Tears” with cell phone service

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By Moira Warburton

VANCOUVER (Reuters) – Canadian authorities will help fund mobile phone service to increase safety along a remote stretch of highway in British Columbia known as the “Highway of Tears” for the number of women who have gone missing on the route, most of them indigenous.

Indigenous groups recommended the move in 2006 in a report on disappearances and murders of women along the highway between the cities of Prince Rupert and Prince George, roughly 800 km (500 miles) north of Vancouver.

The recommendation was endorsed by a provincial government-mandated commission several years later.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are investigating 13 cases of murdered women and five who disappeared on or near the Highway of Tears, although no new cases have been added since 2007. Advocates believe the number of homicides and missing is significantly higher.

Lisa Beare, British Columbia’s minister of citizens’ services, called the project “a critical milestone in helping prevent future tragedies along this route.”

Cell phone plans in Canada are among the most expensive in the world, according to government data, and the cost and lack of coverage in rural areas was a top issue in the last election.

The provincial and federal governments will contribute C$4.5 million towards the C$11.6 million ($9.24 million) cost for Rogers Communications to install 12 cell phone towers, the British Columbia government said on Wednesday.

Lorraine Whitman, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, applauded the plan but said it was only one step in making the area safer for indigenous women.

“This truly is a blessing for the women,” she said. “But not all women have a phone. These towers are being put up, but it makes no use to the person that has no cell phone.”

($1 = 1.2558 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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Canadian fertilizer producer Nutrien to cut greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2030

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By Rod Nickel and Rithika Krishna

(Reuters) –Canada‘s Nutrien Ltd, the world’s largest fertilizer producer by capacity, said on Thursday it aimed to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30% by 2030, in a plan costing the company up to $700 million.

Agricultural companies, including Mosaic and Corteva, have set carbon emissions targets as climate-conscious investors push firms to become more environmentally friendly.

Nutrien plans to spend $500 million to $700 million to meet the carbon emissions target, which includes cutting emissions from nitrogen production by 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by the end of 2023.

“We’re in a really unique spot to address two big societal challenges – food security, and in a way that reduces our environmental footprint,” said Mark Thompson, Nutrien’s chief corporate development and strategy officer, in an interview.

Synthetic fertilizers account for 12% of global emissions from agriculture, according to a 2016 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report.

Nutrien’s target includes Scope 1 and 2 emissions, which reflect direct operations and electricity use. Nutrien is addressing Scope 3 emissions – those related to on-farm activity – with a program that encourages growers to adopt sustainable practices that generate monetary credits.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based company plans to deploy wind and solar energy at four potash plants by the end of 2025, replacing electricity generated by coal and natural gas.

It also plans to expand its sequestration of carbon emissions from nitrogen fertilizer production and to invest in technology to capture nitrous oxide gas from its facilities.

Nutrien estimates that its carbon credit program could directly amount to $10 to $20 per acre for farmers, and it expects to benefit financially itself as well.

“If we can provide agronomic value and the value of the carbon credit over time, we’ll have customer loyalty – we anticipate that we’ll be a preferred supplier,” Thompson said.

(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Steve Orlofsky)

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