Rental truck operator testifies at murder trial for woman accused of running down Toronto lawyer

The operator of a U-Haul agency who rented a pickup truck to Anh Chiem, the woman on trial for murdering Toronto lawyer Scott Rosen, in December 2020, said he called Chiem on the night of the murder, concerned she had been in a collision and testified Chiem told him she had lost control of the vehicle, had hit a pole, the tire was flat and she would pay for any damages.

Mohamad Faraz testified through an Urdu translator that on Dec. 15, 16, and 17, 2020, he rented a white U-Haul pick up truck to Chiem. On the first day, he also took a picture of the 62-year-old’s driver’s license.

But on Dec. 18, it was a mechanic who worked at the shop on Dundas Street West where the rental agency operated out of that gave the key to a woman he believed to be Chiem.

Faraz admitted he did not tell the mechanic to check Chiem’s driver’s licence before she took the vehicle. He also testified he learned that the truck had been involved in an accident later that night when he got a call from the owner of the garage from which he operated his U-Haul rental business.

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He testified the shop owner told him security cameras from the garage showed police standing outside and he could see what looked like damage to the vehicle.

Faraz testified he then called Chiem and asked her what happened to the truck. “She said she had lost control of it. That’s what she said.”

Read more: Woman accused of killing Toronto lawyer in U-Haul truck attack had planned it for days: Crown

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It was Dec. 18, 2020 when police were called to the underground parkade of a building on Eglinton Avenue West near Mount Pleasant Avenue. Lawyer Scott Rosen had been struck and killed as he walked through the parkade while leaving work.

The Crown says surveillance video taken from the parkade will show a white U-Haul pickup truck accelerating towards Rosen at a high rate of speed, striking him, reversing and then striking him again. The pickup truck then drives off. Rosen died of catastrophic injuries.

About 90 minutes later, a white pickup truck with damage to the front bumper was found near Dundas and Bathurst streets. In its opening address, the Crown told the jury a forensic scientist is expected to testify that Rosen’s blood was found on the front bumper.

Faraz was asked if he recognized the woman to whom he had rented the pickup truck. He said yes and identified Anh Chiem as that customer, the woman sitting in the body of the courtroom.

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Mirza Mahmood, the mechanic at Dignity Auto Repair where the U-Haul rental agency operated out of, testified that Faraz had asked him, in his absence, to give the pickup truck key to a Chinese lady who would come to the shop to rent the vehicle.

Mahmood said he recognized the woman because she had stopped by the garage on the Wednesday and Thursday before Friday, Dec. 18, and had taken the same white U-Haul truck with decals on it she had rented on the days earlier. He described the woman he gave the keys to as Chinese, short, about 55 years old, with an average build.

Through an Urdu translator, Mahmood told the jury, “She asked me for the keys. She spoke in broken English.”

Chiem has pleaded not guilty and has been listening to the trial through a Vietnamese interpreter.

The jury has also seen dashcam video from a Toronto police cruiser from Dec. 15, 2020. Officers can be seen pulling over the lone occupant of a white U-Haul pickup truck after receiving a call from the vice-principal of an elementary school near Eglinton and Mount Pleasant avenues, reporting a suspicious truck. An officer can be seen asking the driver for her identification.

The driver’s licence is that of Anh Chiem. The officer can be heard asking Chiem why the licence plate is covered with duct tape. She denies knowing, is argumentative with police and calls the U-Haul dealer, looking for an explanation. An officer can be seen removing the tape and gives Chiem a ticket.

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Read more: Woman charged in connection with Toronto lawyer’s murder was defendant in lawsuit he worked on

Crown prosecutor Corie Langdon told the jury in her opening address that Chiem and Rosen were no strangers to one another and that Chiem had been laying in wait for days for Rosen.

Rosen represented Chiem’s ex son-in-law who had sued Chiem and her mother in a property dispute. Chiem lost the lawsuit and was ordered to pay legal costs. Her legal fees left her hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Rosen also represented the opposing party in Chiem’s bankruptcy case.

Chiem also filed a complaint with the Law Society of Ontario about Rosen’s conduct asking for him to be disbarred. Just weeks before the murder, after the law society investigated, the complaint was dismissed.

Chiem has pleaded not guilty. The trial continues.

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