Defence’s star witness to continue testimony at Toronto van attack trial

TORONTO — A psychiatrist hired by the defence is set to continue his testimony today at the trial for the man who killed 10 people in Toronto’s van attack.

Dr. Alexander Westphal says Minassian suffered from a lack of empathy and struggled to understood others his entire life.

Westphal is testifying on behalf of the defence and is expected to say Alek Minassian is not criminally responsible for his actions on April 23, 2018, due to autism spectrum disorder.

Read more: Alek Minassian was never aggressive to others before Toronto van attack, court hears

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

He has admitted to planning and carrying out the attacks with his state of mind at the time being the sole issue at trial.

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Last week, Westphal refused to testify if court didn’t give in to his demands to seal his videotaped interviews with Minassian and play the clips to court in secret.

The judge begrudgingly gave in to sealing the videos after the psychiatrist warned they could incite more violence, but will allow journalists to watch and report on them.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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