‘Incel-linked’ accused in Toronto van attack goes on trial

TORONTO, CANADA (AFP) – The trial of a Canadian man linked to the misogynist “incel” movement and accused of killing 10 people by ploughing a van into pedestrians in Toronto began yesterday.

Alek Minassian faces 10 charges of premeditated murder and 16 of attempted murder following the attack in April 2018 that left dead eight women and two men, aged 22 to 94, and others badly injured in Canada’s largest city.

The Ontario Superior Court trial, which will be live-streamed at Toronto’s convention centre, had been scheduled for earlier this year, but was twice postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With restrictions to limit the spread of the illness still in effect, is now held by videoconference.

The 28-year-old appeared from prison where he has been held since his arrest on the day of the rampage. The judge, lawyers and witnesses will all connect by videolink.

The public, meanwhile, will be able to watch proceedings broadcast on large screens at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.The trial is expected to last up to four weeks and will be heard by a judge, with no jury.

Since he has already admitted to planning and carrying out the carnage, the trial will focus on Minassian’s state of mind and criminal responsibility at the time of the attack, not whether he was the perpetrator.

His mother said he suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism that includes impaired social interactions or communication.

According to the Toronto Star newspaper, the defence will argue that because of mental illness he is not criminally responsible.