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Defence drops strategy to have video evidence thrown out in Montsion trial

Saturday July 6, 2019

Ottawa police Const. Daniel Montsion arrives at the courthouse on day two of his trial. He's pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi. (Robyn Miller/CBC)

Ottawa police officer's manslaughter trial to continue in September at the earliest, court hears

After many legal arguments and even allegations of doctoring, the defence has dropped its bid to have key video evidence thrown out in the manslaughter trial of Const. Daniel Montsion.

Montsion is also charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in connection with the violent arrest of Abdirahman Abdi in 2016, which left Abdi without vital signs.

Abdi was resuscitated at the hospital and died the next day.

The defence had earlier argued the video was so misleading it should be thrown out as evidence, but the arguments threatened to stall the trial to the point that it may have extended into 2020.

On Friday, the final scheduled court date for the trial, defence lawyer Solomon Friedman said they are no longer seeking to challenge the admissibility of the data contained in the video.

'Sunday bombshell'

On the second day of the trial back in February, the defence said they received a "bombshell:" that a second version of the surveillance video of Abdi's arrest appeared to play more slowly and more smoothly than the version that had been disclosed.

In the early days of the trial, Montsion's defence team claimed it was "doctored."

In the months that followed, it was revealed that there are multiple versions of the video, and only one that was ever admitted as evidence.

Trial to break for the summer

The concession is part of an effort to keep the trial moving, Friedman told the court Friday.

"We want to get this done and we want to make the non-ideal compromises required to get this done," he said Friday, after adding that defence lawyers are willing to take the unusual step of sharing their witness list with the Crown in order to keep the case moving efficiently.

The trial will now go on hiatus until more court time can be found to hear the rest of the evidence.

The Crown has informed the court they are approaching the end of their case, and do not plan to call any more eyewitnesses.

The defence said the vast majority of the witnesses they plan to call saw what unfolded at the Bridgehead coffee shop before police arrived, as well as the chase down Wellington Street W.

The trial will resume in September at the earliest while lawyers work to co-ordinate their schedules.


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