1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Psychiatrist to continue testimony in Toronto van attack trial

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Thursday, Nov 19th, 2020

Warning: Details of the trial are graphic in nature, discretion is advised

A psychiatrist hired by the defence will continue testifying Thursday in the Toronto van attack trial.

The trial centres around whether Alek Minassian can be held criminally responsible for the 10 murders and the injuries of 16 others.

The defence said he should be found not criminally responsible — due to autism — for his actions that day.

Minassian has admitted in court to planning and carrying out the attack.

The only issue to be decided at trial is his state of mind at the time of the attack.

Dr. Rebecca Chauhan testified Wednesday that Minassian’s autism spectrum disorder left him struggling to understand emotions and vulnerable to the writings of a mass killer.

She told the court that in her conversations with Minassian, he admitted that he intended to kill every single person he struck with a rental van in April of 2018, especially young, attractive women.

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

In her assessment of Minassian’s autism, she concluded he suffers from a certain level of “mind blindness,” meaning he seems to “struggle with grasping the internal world of others and why they’d be so distressed.”

The doctor also made it clear to the court that she’s “not suggesting people with autism spectrum disorder are immoral. They learn from people around them the difference between right and wrong. They’re still able to make moral decisions but with less sophistication.” She added that when a situation is more complex, it can overwhelm a person with autism.


  • No comments have been left yet, get the conversation started!

Leave a Comment Below

Sign in to comment.

All fields are required.

Want to embed media into your comment? Just paste in a URL in a separate paragraph to the page where you would normally view the media (like on YouTube) and it will automatically be embedded into your comment.