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Black man beaten by men, including off-duty Toronto cop, to testify at trial

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 6th, 2019

OSHAWA, Ont. — A young black man who prosecutors allege was beaten by an off-duty Toronto police officer and the officer’s brother nearly three years ago is expected to testify today at the two men’s trial.

Dafonte Miller is to tell an Oshawa, Ont., court his account of the encounter with Michael and Christian Theriault in the early hours of Dec. 28, 2016.

The brothers are jointly charged with aggravated assault, and separately charged with obstruction of justice over how they portrayed it to investigators.

They have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors allege Michael Theriault, an off-duty officer, and his brother ran after Miller and beat him, including with a long metal pipe.

Court has heard the brothers told investigators Miller was the one who attacked them with a pipe after they caught him breaking into their parents’ truck.

The trial has heard Miller was badly injured and was blinded on his left side after his eye ruptured.

This report by The Canadian Press was originally published on Nov. 6, 2019.

The Canadian Press

GTA death doulas give comfort to dying

TAMMIE SUTHERLAND | posted Wednesday, Nov 6th, 2019

It’s one of the only guarantees we have in life.

“We’re not all going to give birth, you don’t really have to do your taxes, but we’re all going to die,” says Kayla Moryoussef, who is part of the movement to make the public more comfortable when talking about death.

Moryoussef is studying to become a death doula. Much like a birthing doula, who guides pregnant women as their infants are born, a death doula helps support people who are dying.

A death doula’s duties have several parts, Moryoussef explains. The most fundamental is sitting vigil with the dying and supporting their families.

“The second part is the death planning. The ‘who, what, where, when and why,’” she says. The doula arranges the “smells, sights, tastes and sounds of when somebody is actively dying. […] So that they can have the death that they wish for.”

The doula’s third responsibility is the deceased person’s legacy, says Moryoussef. “What do you want to leave behind and how can I help you with that?”

The service can be a huge support for family members who want to fulfill their loved one’s wish to die at home, says Tracey Robertson, the co-founder of the Home Hospice Association. Her organization provides training for potential death doulas.

“Most of us haven’t organically or naturally learned how to be with someone who is actively dying,” she says. “It can be scary when we see breathing changes, hear different sounds, when we see in some cases people are hallucinating, they may see people who aren’t there.

“It’s really important to have somebody there who can comfort not only the person who’s dying, but also the family members, to say, this is OK. This is what we should expect.”

Dan Steinwald had the support of a death doula when his wife Diana died of colon cancer in 2017. Diana chose to pass away at home, surrounded by loved ones in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

“How do you invite your family and friends? What does that invitation look like?” Steinwald says. “It’s not like you can go to the local card store and what not.”

He says their doula helped answer those questions in a time when he and Diana were dealing with saying goodbye.

“[Our doula] organized the whole afternoon. We had lots of hugs, lots of stories, lots of tears … she just provided that soothing kind of support I was looking for.”

To keep the conversation going, Moryoussef is part of a team at the Home Hospice Association that organizes Death Café. The casual coffee chats provide a forum for people to ask questions about death and dying.

“A small percentage of people who come are imminently dying who have a diagnosis,” she says. “Then it’s 50/50: people who are really excited and really want to talk about dying and death [and] people who are terrified, but are really curious.”

On Nov. 7, the group is holding its first-ever Death Café specifically for those with chronic illness and chronic pain.

Robertson says the association’s doula training class has grown from three students in 2017, to 30 students this month.

“It just goes to show how much more we’re starting to learn about it, how many more people want to do this work,” she says. “That will only allow more and more people to access the care.”

Moryoussef adds, “I often tell people that conversation about dying and death is just as much a conversation about life and living. It’s so life affirming to talk about dying and death, it reminds you of what your values are. It reminds you of why you’re living and what you’re living for.”

Ontario government to provide annual fall economic statement today

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Wednesday, Nov 6th, 2019

Ontario is releasing its fall economic statement this afternoon amid concerns of potential cuts.

Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have said the key fiscal update will detail their efforts to balance the books.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips has said the statement will show the province will beat its own $10.3-billion deficit projection.

The government has also said the mini-budget will include measures aimed at bolstering job growth and strengthening the economy.

Last month, Phillips tried to ease concerns the statement would include cuts similar to those in the government’s fall update last year.

That document included the elimination of several independent watchdogs and pulled support for a French-language university.

1 man killed in brazen daylight shooting near Sherway Gardens

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019

A man has died after being shot in Etobicoke on Monday afternoon.

Police say they were called to The Queensway and North Queen Street near Sherway Gardens just before 1 p.m. for reports of a person firing a gun multiple times.

The victim was found with life-threatening injuries and was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead. There are no further details about the victim.

The suspect reportedly fled in a vehicle.

The homicide unit has taken over the investigation and anyone with information is asked to contact police.

2 injured in 4-car crash on Hwy. 401

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019

Two people were seriously injured in a mutli-vehicle crash on Highway 401 in Mississauga on Monday night.

Crews responded to the scene in the westbound lanes of the 401 between Dixie Road and Highway 410, south of Pearson airport around 8 p.m.

Four vehicle were involved in the collision and one of them had rolled over.

One person was taken to a trauma cente and another to a local hospital. Both people are in serious but non-life-threatening condition.

1 teen dead, 1 injured after car crashes into tree in Brampton

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019

A 17-year-old boy is dead and another is in hospital after a car crashed into a tree in Brampton overnight.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at McVean Drive and Da Vinci Avenue, in the Goreway Drive and Castlemore Road area, around 11:15 p.m. Monday.

Paramedics said the passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver, who is also 17, was rushed to a trauma centre in life-threatening condition. His condition has since been upgraded to serious. Police originally said the driver had been placed in custody for impaired but now say there was no impairment involved. He’s expected to be charged with criminal negligence causing death.

Police said no other vehicles were involved in the crash.

Speed is believed to have been a factor in the crash.

McVean was closed in both directions for the investigation but has since reopened.

8 boys, 1 man charged in guns and gangs investigation in Regent Park

News Staff | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019

Toronto police say eight boys ranging in age from 14 to 17 and a 22-year-old man are facing a total of 60 charges between them in a gun and gang related investigation in Regent Park.

Police say plainclothes officers were in the neighbourhood around 1 a.m. Sunday to arrest a wanted 15-year-old-boy.

The officers saw him leave a townhouse and meet up with two other boys in the Eastern Avenue and Cherry Street area.

When police tried to arrest him, it’s alleged he pointed a loaded handgun at one of the officers before running off.

The 15-year-old was found a short time later and arrested. The other two boys, both 16-years-old, were also arrested shortly after.

All three are facing 26 firearms related charges between them including unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized and possession of a Restricted Firearm with Ammo.

In addition five more boys — one of them wanted for an attempted murder investigation — were arrested when police continued their investigation in the area of Regent and Cole streets.

Upon noticing the police presence, the boys began to flee from an address where police were executing a search warrant. When police entered the address, they found a 22-year-old man and an illegal handgun.

Three 17-year-old boys, a 16-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy are facing 30 firearms related charges between them.

The names of the eight boys have not been released in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Adh-Har Abdalla Hashim, 22, of Toronto is facing one count each of unauthorized possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, careless storage of a firearm and possession of a restricted firearm with ammo.

All nine accused appeared in court the same day.

Police have released photos of two firearms seized in the investigation. Anyone with further information is asked to contact police.

Dafonte Miller expected to testify at trial of brothers accused of beating him

The Canadian Press | posted Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019


The trial of a Toronto police officer and his brother is expected to hear Tuesday from the young black man they are accused of beating.

Dafonte Miller is scheduled to testify in an Oshawa courtroom this afternoon at the trial of Michael and Christian Theriault.

Michael Theriault, who was off duty at the time, and his brother are jointly charged with aggravated assault in the Dec. 28, 2016 incident.

They are also separately charged with obstruction of justice over how they portrayed the incident to investigators.

Prosecutors allege the brothers chased Miller, who was 19 at the time, then brutally beat him, at times using a metal pipe.

Court has heard the Theriault brothers told investigators they caught the teen breaking into their parents’ truck, and feared for their lives during the encounter.

The trial, which is taking place before a judge alone, began last week.

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