UPDATE-2 - Canadian Judge Finds 2018 Toronto Van Attack Perpetrator Guilty On All 26 Counts

UPDATE-2 - Canadian Judge Finds 2018 Toronto Van Attack Perpetrator Guilty on All 26 Counts

TORONTO (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 04th March, 2021) Alek Minassian, the perpetrator of the Toronto van attack in April 2018, which left ten dead and 16 injured, has been found guilty on all 26 counts of murder and attempted murder, an Ontario Superior Court of Justice judge ruled on Wednesday.

Justice Anne Molloy ruled that the 28-year-old was fully aware of impact of his actions and the attack was reasoned and carefully planned in finding Minassian guilty on all counts. While the facts in the case were never in dispute - Minassian admitted to carrying out the attack through his lawyers - the case rested on whether the former IT-student was criminally responsible for his actions or had a mental disorder absolving him of culpability.

"He had a functioning, rational brain, one that perceived the reality of what he was doing, and knew it was morally wrong by society's standards, and contrary to everything he had been taught about right and wrong. He then made a choice. He chose to commit the crimes anyway, because it was what he really wanted to do," Molloy said, justifying her reasoning.

Molloy added that Minassian, admittedly guided by incel ideology - an online subculture of so-called "involuntary celibates," who are unable to find a romantic or sexual partner and espouse hostile views towards sexually active members of the public, particularly women - wanted to achieve fame and notoriety through the attack, and had been fantasizing about committing such a crime for over a decade.

According to the court ruling, the former IT-student, who was months away from graduation, saw himself as a failure and had no hope for the future, and while he was not suicidal, he did not care if he had died as long as he attained notoriety in the process.

Minassian had tried to goad a police officer into shooting him during a standoff in the immediate aftermath of the attack, in a bid to "die by cop," the court document said.

Psychiatric experts assigned to the case were in agreement that Minassian was on the autism spectrum but was not psychotic or delusional when driving the van. However, the experts were divided in whether the perpetrator was aware of the moral implications of his action, which served as the trigger for a prolonged trial.

The trial was conducted by judge alone, after authorities were unable to find jurors unfamiliar with the events in question, Molloy said.

On April 23, 2018, the then 25-year-old Minassian, drove a van along a sidewalk through one of Toronto's busiest pedestrian corridors for over a mile, ultimately killing ten and injuring 16.

Following the massacre, Minassian published message on Facebook in which he saluted Elliot Rodger, who killed six and injured 13 in a shooting rampage at the University of California at Santa Barbara four years earlier for similar reasons, and proclaimed that the "incel rebellion" had begun.

Investigators said that Minassian had planned the attack weeks in advance.

Reacting to the verdict, Toronto Mayor John Tory said in a statement that there will never be complete closure for the impacted families or the city itself.

Minassian will be back in court on March 18, when officials consider the next steps and discuss the timetable for sentencing.