TORONTO, Canada, Dec 19, 2020 (AFP) – A Canadian man inspired by the misogynist “incel” movement to kill 10 people by ploughing a van into pedestrians in Toronto was aware of his actions and cannot claim criminal irresponsibility, prosecutors said.
Alek Minassian had pleaded “not criminally responsible” due to his autism spectrum disorder (ASD) at the start of his trial last month for the April 2018 attack that killed eight women and two men and injured 16 others.
“This is about a person who committed mass murder who happened to have ASD, not that the ASD made him commit murders,” Crown attorney Joe Callaghan told the court in Toronto on Friday.
“He always had an understanding, an awareness — more than awareness — that from society’s perspective, his choice to kill was wrong.”
Minassian faces 10 charges of premeditated murder and 16 of attempted murder following the rampage where he drove a rented van at high speeds along two kilometres (more than a mile) of roads and sidewalks, indiscriminately targeting passers-by.
Just prior to the attack, he posted on Facebook: “The incel rebellion has already begun,” and referenced American mass killer Elliot Rodger who committed a similar attack in California.
During interrogation, he described the anger he felt toward women and said this had motivated the attack.
He said he had joined an online community of like-minded men who described themselves as “incels” or “involuntary celibates,” whose sexual frustrations led them to embrace a misogynist ideology.
Since he has already admitted to planning and carrying out the carnage, the trial will focus on Minassian’s state of mind and criminal responsibility at the time of the attack, not whether he was the perpetrator.
His defense has argued that his mental state left him devoid of empathy, unable to discern right from wrong and incapable of making rational choices. et/ahe/rma/mtp Agence France-Presse