November 29th, 2020

Alek Minassian’s father to testify as defence launches its case in van attack trial

By The Canadian Press on November 16, 2020.

Vahe Minassian, father of Alek Minassian, is surrounded by members of the media as he leaves court with a police escort in Toronto on Tuesday, April 24, 2018. The father of the man who is on trial for killing 10 and hurting 16 more in Toronto's van attack is set to testify today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

TORONTO – The father of a man who is on trial for killing 10 and hurting 16 more in Toronto’s van attack is set to testify today.

Alek Minassian’s lawyers will begin mounting their defence as they argue their client should not be held criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to a mental disorder.

The case will turn solely on Minassian’s state of mind at the time of the attack and arguments in court suggest his lawyers will use autism as part of the defence.

Court heard last week a psychiatrist hired by the defence found Minassian had an “autistic way of thinking” that was similar to psychosis.

Former classmates have told The Canadian Press Minassian lives with autism spectrum disorder.

He has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, but has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack.

Vahe Minassian is expected to testify about his son’s life and his state of mind.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 16, 2020.

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