News from the world – CA – Ottawa Const Montsion not guilty on all counts for the death of Abdirahman Abdi, judge judge


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Ottawa Police Officer Daniel Montsion was found not guilty of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdirahman Abdi in 2016, according to a verdict read Tuesday

Ontario court judge Robert Kelly said in his judgment that he remained with a « reasonable doubt » that Montsion’s actions that day outside Abdi’s Hintonburg apartment had led on the death of this 37-year-old Somali man

He said the Crown set out to prove that Montsion had committed an ‘unlawful act’ during the arrest of Abdi, who saw the gendarme punch Abdi in the face and on the head several times with gloves reinforced

The « common thread » of the three charges facing Montsion was whether his actions amounted to « unjustified assault, » Kelly said

If the Crown could not answer this key question beyond a reasonable doubt, Kelly could not find Montsion guilty, he said

Abdi suffered a facial injury and suffered a heart attack during his arrest He died the next day in hospital from cerebral hypoxia, the court heard during the trial

As the Crown tried to prove that it was the Montsion strikes that broke Abdi’s nose and ‘hastened’ his death, the defense managed to sow doubt

Montsion’s lawyer did so by suggesting that these injuries could have been sustained after Abdi was pinned to the ground or during a teardown with the other officer involved, Constable Dave Weir, who had already cleared of charges during an investigation by the Special Investigations Unit

« I remain in a state of reasonable doubt as to whether Const Montsion’s acts caused Mr. Abdi’s death, ”Kelly said

The prosecution also argued that Montsion acted with « a wanton or reckless recklessness » for Abdi’s life, in a manner which surpassed the responsible conduct of the police in such circumstances

But in this submission as well, Kelly found doubt, based on an examination of communications on police radio channels and information displayed on the computers of the police car when Montsion was en route to the scene, assuming from this evidence what the gendarme might have known upon arriving It would have helped determine if his use of force was justified based on his assessment of the situation, Kelly said

These communications included audio recordings of Weir as he attempted to subdue and pursue Abdi over reports that he was behaving erratically and attacking customers at a local cafe

Kelly said he could not, based on his review of this evidence, find Montsion guilty of any of the charges

« I remain with a reasonable doubt as to whether this behavior demonstrates gratuitous or reckless disregard for Mr. Abdi’s safety, ”he said

« I find that the Crown has not discharged its onus of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the force Const Montsion used was not justified »

The judge made no ruling one way or another on one of the key issues in the case, which is whether Montsion’s reinforced gloves were considered a « weapon »

He said that because his decision-making process did not conclusively show Montsion’s disregard for Abdi’s safety, he did not need to determine whether the Crown proved the gloves to be a « weapon » in under section 2 of the Criminal Code

Kelly admitted at the end of his judgment that Abdi’s death and the subsequent Montsion trial had « touched so many people » in Hintonburg and beyond

“The trial of Const Montsion was long and difficult My task, throughout, was to listen and reflect with an open mind on all the evidence and the submissions of the council My only duty was to decide, without passion, based on the admissible evidence and applicable law, whether the prosecution fulfills its onus of proving Montsion’s guilt on each charge, ”Kelly said

The case was due to end earlier this year but was delayed by the novel coronavirus pandemic

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Death of Abdirahman Abdi, Police Officer, Ottawa Police Service

News from the world – CA – Ottawa Const Montsion not guilty on all charges for the death of Abdirahman Abdi, judge the judge



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