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Forensic psychiatrist to testify for defence at Toronto van attack trial

The Canadian Press | posted Monday, Nov 23rd, 2020

A forensic psychiatrist is set to testify for the defence on Monday in the murder trial for the man who killed 10 people after driving a van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk.

Dr. John Bradford is set to provide his evaluation of Alek Minassian, who has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

CityNews reporter Adrian Ghobrial is covering the trial, follow his tweets below:

Minassian argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to autism spectrum disorder for his actions on April 23, 2018.

He has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack and his state of mind at the time is the sole issue at trial.

Another psychiatrist has testified that Minassian’s autism spectrum disorder left him fixated on mass killings and vulnerable to the ramblings of an American mass murderer.

Dr. Rebecca Chauhan assessed Minassian over three days in September 2018. She testified on Wednesday that his autism spectrum disorder left him struggling to understand emotions and vulnerable to the online writings of mass killer Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in a 2014 attack near the campus of the University of California.

She testified Thursday that Minassian told her he read Rodger’s manifesto almost daily between January and April, 2018.

After assessing him, she wrote in her report that Minassian started reading about mass murders and became interested in the subject in high school. “He would fanaticize about shooting people every three to four months,” she wrote.

Dr. Chauhan was brought on by Dr. Bradford because he wanted a second opinion on Minassian’s autism diagnosis.

The defence case rests on the argument that his autism spectrum disorder meant he couldn’t fully understand the consequences of his actions during the attack.

The court has heard that Minassian has told various doctors his motivation for the attacks ranged from notoriety to revenge against society for years of rejection by women to anxiety over starting a new job.


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