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Court to wait longer to sentence van attacker Alek Minassian

TORONTO — The man who deliberately killed 11 people by driving a van down a Toronto sidewalk will have his sentencing adjourned for several months.

Ontario's Superior Court of Justice says Tuesday's scheduled appearance for Alek Minassian will set a new date for the sentencing as it awaits a key Supreme Court of Canada decision in another case.

Justice Anne Molloy found Minassian guilty of 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder last year for his actions on April 23, 2018.

The court says it will wait until the Supreme Court hears an appeal in the Alexander Bissonnette case about sentencing rules on multiple murders that allow sentences to be consecutive.

The Quebec Court of Appeal overturned the 40-year period of parole ineligibility for Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to six counts of first-degree murder after killing six people at a Quebec City mosque in 2017.

The Crown appealed to the Supreme Court after the Appeal Court found the consecutive sentencing provision to be unconstitutional.

The court says Minassian will next appear in court on April 5.

The prosecution in the Minassian case previously told court the victims and their families also want to be able to read their victim impact statements in person, which has not been possible due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Minassian was found guilty of 10 first-degree murders, another victim, Amaresh Tesfamariam, died a few months ago from injuries sustained in the attack years prior.

Tesfamariam was paralyzed from the neck down and never left hospital after being hit by Minassian. 

Toronto police, the coroner and Tesfamariam's family consider her death to be a homicide.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 10, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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