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Man, 30, charged with second-degree murder following alleged assault, Toronto police say

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2020

Toronto police say they have charged a man with second-degree murder following an alleged assault in the city’s Bloordale Village neighbourhood.

On Dec. 5th at around 4 a.m. police said they were called to the Dufferin Street and Bloor Street West area for a report of a dispute between two men.

Investigators allege an argument turned into a fight, resulting in a man being knocked unconscious.

The man was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

Police arrested 30-year-old Toronto resident Marlon Davis at the scene and charged him with aggravated assault.

On Sunday, police said they charged Davis with second-degree murder.

Davis is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

This is the city’s 67th homicide of the year, police said.

Psychiatrist to testify for sixth day at Toronto van attack trial

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2020

A psychiatrist retained by the defence will testify for a sixth straight day at the trial for the man who killed 10 people while driving a van down a Toronto sidewalk.

Dr. Alexander Westphal has said Alek Minassian lacks empathy and does not understand the moral wrongfulness of killing 10 people, but said a finding of criminal responsibility is a legal matter rather than a psychiatric one.

Minassian has told Westphal he knew what he did was morally wrong, but the psychiatrist did not include that statement in his final report.

Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder.

The defence argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to autism spectrum disorder.

Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, which leaves his state of mind at the time the sole issue at trial.

The prosecution will enter the third day of a tense cross-examination of Westphal.

LCBO ‘pauses’ alcohol delivery with Skip The Dishes

BT Toronto | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2020

The LCBO says they are “pausing” their partnership with food delivery provider Skip The Dishes.

“Following direction from the Ontario government, effective end of day today, LCBO’s partnership with SkipTheDishes is paused until further notice,” the LCBO said in a statement on Twitter Sunday.

Ontario Finance Minister Rod Phillips said on Sunday that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry been “among the hardest hit” and needs support. Since the spring, licensed bars and restaurants have been allowed to sell alcohol via takeout and delivery to help keep their businesses going.

“Restaurants continue to need our support, which is why the Premier and I have asked the LCBO to pause their recently announced delivery plans with Skip the Dishes,” Phillips said.

The LCBO said they will continue to offer in-store shopping and expanded same-day pickup.

“[We] will continue to look for new ways to increase choice and convenience for our customers,” they said.

Toronto Mayor John Tory welcomed the move.

“Premier [Ford] and Finance Minister [Rod Phillips] got this one right. Modernized liquor laws are the way to go but not right now with restaurants locked down. Good call,” Tory said in a tweet Sunday afternoon.

 

Tighter COVID-19 restrictions come into effect today in 3 Ontario regions

THE CANADIAN PRESS | posted Monday, Dec 7th, 2020

Tighter public health restrictions come into effect in three Ontario regions today in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Middlesex-London and Thunder Bay will move into the “orange” zone of the province’s colour-coded, tiered pandemic response plan.

The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit moves to the “yellow” category.

The change to orange includes restrictions on visitors to long-term care homes and beefed up testing in the facilities.

The change to yellow includes limiting events and social gatherings to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors, while organized public events are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors.

The measures will remain in place for at least 28 days.

The impact of the pandemic on women experiencing violence

Melanie Ng | posted Friday, Dec 4th, 2020

She moved to Canada on a work visa, met a charming man, fell in love and had a baby.  What sounds like a beautiful story was anything but.  Sarah (as she will be referred to here to protect her identity) knew that something was not right in her common-law relationship.

“This anger that was coming out… irrational decisions…it became lots of little, subtle things that became scarier”, she recalls about her partner.  Sarah saw what she refers to as “red signs” with him, leading her to end the relationship, but being pregnant and told she could no longer work in her physically demanding job, she felt vulnerable.  Sarah returned to her partner where he “promised everything that (she) wanted”, including counselling, getting his addictions under control and starting a new life.

However, Sarah says that promise was quickly broken and her partner’s aggressive behaviour escalated.  He threatened to leave her at the side of the road in frigid temperatures and even kept an axe in the car, near the baby seat.  She recalls a time when she feared for her life as he pulled over to the side of the road, waving the axe.  Sarah was afraid that if she said anything, it would be turned on her.

The moment Sarah knew something had to change:  while out for a walk with their newborn baby, her partner nearly flipped the stroller over.  At the time, he was carrying what she thought was a bottle of water but learned it was filled with alcohol.  She couldn’t trust him and feared for her and her son.  Sarah waited until her partner was out of town before finding the courage to escape to a place where she could get the help she so desperately needed.

“I was nervous to take the step to go into a transition house … that was partly due to the stigma of what you would think of a transition house”, says Sarah.  “Knowing that this is really the end of the road.  You’re doing it.”

Although ‘doing it’ for Sarah was a complicated process and leaving her partner was just the first step.  She wanted to leave Canada with her baby, but because she wasn’t a permanent resident, it wasn’t that simple.   For two years, she navigated immigration and family court, all while raising her young son and fearing her partner would find them… and he did.   They bounced around from transition house to transition house until finally, they ended up at one safe haven that she says changed her life.

“It’s such an empowering feeling because them taking me in was such a blessing….and them just actively listening….they really sit and listen to you…sometimes that’s just what you need when you’re doing this by yourself.”

Sarah’s advice to anyone experiencing what she went through and in need of help:  “Believe in you.  Just keep going step by step, even if it just means thinking of the next five minutes so you’re not so overwhelmed.  This is a journey.  Sometimes it might be tough and you might feel scared, but there is a community behind you. Be kind to yourself because you’re the one that’s going to push yourself to get through this.”

Woman dead after being struck by vehicle in Oakville

LUCAS CASALETTO | posted Friday, Dec 4th, 2020

Oakville paramedics have confirmed a woman is dead after she was struck by a vehicle in Oakville on Thursday afternoon.

Halton police said Lakeshore Road is closed in both directions between Bel Air Drive and Chartwell Road, which is where the woman was hit.

It’s being reported that the woman was walking her dog, who also died, as a result of the collision. The Humane Society were observed at the scene as police investigated.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit remains on scene while officers continue to investigate.

It’s unclear what led to the collision or whether the driver remained on scene.

Man shot by police in Lindsay has died: SIU

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Dec 4th, 2020

The 33-year-old man shot by police during an incident last week near Lindsay has died.

The province’s Special Investigations Unit says the man died in hospital Wednesday night from injuries sustained in the shooting.

The SIU says they were called to a residence in Trent Lakes about an alleged abduction of a boy by his father on the morning of November 26.

The OPP then located a vehicle of interest in the City of Kawartha Lakes and attempted to stop the pickup truck. The truck then became involved in a collision with a police cruiser and another vehicle on Pigeon Lake Road.

An officer who was standing outside the cruiser at the time of the crash sustained serious injuries. He remains in hospital in stable condition.

Three officers discharged their weapons, striking the 33-year-old driver who was airlifted to hospital in “grave condition.”

The one-year-old boy who was inside the pickup truck was fatally wounded by gunshot and pronounced dead at the scene.

It’s uncertain who may have fired the fatal bullet. The SIU says it is still waiting for the autopsy report, which was completed over the weekend.

Investigators seized the three firearms from police and say a fourth gun was found in the pickup truck where the one-year-old boy was shot dead.

The SIU says 10 of the 13 witness officers have been interviewed by investigators and the remaining three are expected to speak with them in the coming days.

Thorncliffe Park PS closed due to ongoing COVID-19 outbreak

BT Toronto | posted Friday, Dec 4th, 2020

Toronto Public Health has dismissed all classes at Thorncliffe Park Public School due to an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

In a letter sent to parents and guardians on Thursday, public health says the East York elementary school is being closed until December 10 and students and staff are to self-monitor for symptoms of coronavirus.

The decision comes after three of 30 staff members at the school refused to work on Thursday due to COVID-19 concerns.

Jennifer Brown, the president of the Elementary Teachers of Toronto, said the staff members were on site but remained in their cars. She said the teachers are “very concerned” for their safety.

Toronto District School Board spokesperson Ryan Bird said in a brief statement to CityNews that the classes were covered by “other non-core staff” at the school. He added that they were working with the Ministry of Labour to address their concerns.

The Ministry of Labour said health and safety inspectors visited the school and that their investigation is “ongoing.”

“The government’s top priority is ensuring the health and well being of students, teachers and support staff. The Ministry of Labour, Training Skills and Development’s neutral role is to ensure that workplaces are safe,” read a brief statement issued late Thursday afternoon.

There are currently 26 cases of COVID-19 among staff and students at the school.

Brown says 18 classes are in self-isolation including 27 teachers and 348 of the 750 students who are enrolled for in-person learning.

Brown wanted the school to be closed, calling on the provincial government and public health officials to be more proactive instead of reactive.

Education minister Stephen Lecce said the decision to close the school is in the hands of the local public health unit.

“That is the authority that should be making these decisions,” Lecce said. “In that case, Toronto Public Health, Dr. [Vinita] Dube, Dr. [Eileen] de Villa, have provided context for why the school remains open and they’re really best positioned to provide that scientific advice, not politicians.”

The education minister said he has full confidence in these public health officials to do what’s right.

Testing of asymptomatic students and staff at the school over two days last week led to the discovery of 19 positive cases of COVID-19 – 18 students and 1 staff member.

Principal Jeff Crane said 433 tests were conducted on a voluntary basis under a Ministry of Education pilot program to test students and staff without symptoms for COVID-19. Thorncliffe Park PS is the first school that is part of the program.

On Thursday, the province reported 122 new COVID-19 cases related to schools, including at least 94 among students.

That brings the number of schools with a reported case to 755 out of Ontario’s 4,828 publicly funded schools.

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