Alek Minassian will be tried by a judge without a jury in Toronto next year on 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in the worst mass killing in the city.
Minassian is accused of driving a rented van into pedestrians on a busy sidewalk on Yonge St. on the afternoon of April 23, 2018.
Minassian had initially intended to ask the court to change the venue of the trial out of Toronto out of concern that he would not receive a fair trial before an impartial jury, but on Wednesday Crown Joe Callaghan said Minassian had consented to be tried for murder without a jury.
“After careful deliberation and consideration of the anticipated issues in this trial, the Crown has provided its consent to proceed with a trial in this matter before Your Honour without a jury,” Callaghan said.
The trial is scheduled to be heard in February 2020 before Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy.
“We have a very experienced senior judge and I am sure Mr. Minassian will recieve the fairest trial possible,” said Minassian’s lawyer Boris Bytensky after court ended.
A jury trial is mandatory under the Criminal Code on murder charges, unless both the Crown and defence consent to allow for a judge-alone trial.
Alyshah Hasham is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and court. Follow her on Twitter: @alysanmati