TORONTO (REUTERS) – The man charged with plowing a rented van into dozens of people in Toronto in 2018, killing 10, is guilty of all 26 counts, a judge ruled on Wednesday (March 3).
Alek Minassian, 28, told police he was motivated by a desire to punish society for his perceived status as an “incel” – short for involuntary celibate – because he believed women would not have sex with him.
The defence failed to prove Minassian’s autism spectrum disorder deprived him of the capacity to know his actions were wrong, Judge Anne Molloy said, in a verdict that was live-streamed on YouTube following a trial held virtually due to the pandemic.
Molloy referred to Minassian as “John Doe” because of the way the case had given him the notoriety he said he desired.
“Mr Doe thought about committing these crimes over a considerable period of time and made a considered decision to proceed. 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.”
Whether Minassian rented the van or used it to kill people was not at issue in his trial: What was debated was his state of mind at the time.
Minassian’s lawyer argued his autism spectrum disorder prevented him from knowing what he was doing was wrong when he drove the van into pedestrians on a crowded sidewalk.
The prosecutor in his case argued Minassian’s autism did not deprive him of the ability to assess the morality of his actions.
“He never lost sight of the fact that society viewed his choice as wrong, and he made a choice to go ahead and commit the attack,” prosecutor Joe Callaghan told the court last month.