TORONTO — The singlemost important defence witness supporting Alek Minassian’s claim that autism prevented him from knowing it was wrong to kill 10 people refused to testify unless the judge guaranteed his videos of the accused are never publicly released.
Describing the witness’s refusal as “offensive” and a “ransom demand,” Justice Anne Molloy reluctantly agreed to the unprecedented demand, because without the doctor’s evidence, Minassian had no plausible defence to what is the most serious set of charges ever heard in an Ontario court.
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“Either I do it or proceed directly to sentencing,” Molloy said in court while explaining her ruling that restricted trial viewing of the videos and banned any publication.
“I made the analogy of a gun to my head. Another one that occurs to me is a ransom demand. I know it’s wrong to give into those kinds of demands. As a general proposition kidnappers should not be paid ransom but that said, if somebody kidnapped my child, I’d probably pay.”