Any questions left lingering after the conclusion of Const. Daniel Montsion’s trial could still be answered outside the confines of the criminal court system, with a pending civil lawsuit, a professional standards inquiry and the prospect of a coroner’s inquest into the death of Abdirahman Abdi among the avenues available for a public airing of the facts in this high-profile case.
No matter what verdict is rendered Tuesday by Ontario Court Justice Robert Kelly in Montsion’s manslaughter and assault trial — the culmination of a lengthy legal process that began with Abdi’s fatal arrest on July 24, 2016, criminal charges laid against Montsion by the Special Investigations Unit in March 2017, and an exhaustive trial that commenced in February 2019 and heard its closing arguments this summer — the story is likely far from over.
The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition has long made legislative reform a priority of its mandate, lobbying the government to preserve recommendations made in 2018 by Justice Michael Tulloch in Ontario’s new Police Services Act.
Ottawa-Centre NDP MPP Joel Harden, who in a statement last week predicted the Montsion verdict will be “a watershed moment in Ottawa’s history with police violence,” will be among the coalition’s guests at Tuesday’s post-verdict press conference.
“I think there is a broad public appetite for some legislative reform,” said Ottawa defence lawyer Michael Spratt, an outspoken advocate for police reform. “To look at how police use force, the accountability and transparency of police forces and how police budgets are distributed and spent. There are legislative avenues that certainly can be explored and there are issues here that are ripe for debate in a public forum.”
Read Aedan Helmer’s full article: Ottawa Citizen