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Ottawa police officer’s manslaughter trial resumes as disclosure issues hold potentially ‘dire’ impact

Lawyers for Const. Daniel Montsion were huddled in their Elgin Street offices on Super Bowl Sunday, the day before the officer’s high-profile manslaughter and assault trial was set to begin, when the incoming email pinged from the Crown attorney’s office.

New evidence had just been turned over by the Special Investigations Unit, which charged Montsion in the July 24, 2016, death of Abdirahman Abdi. It was a two-minute video excerpt taken from CCTV footage of the arrest at 55 Hilda St., enhanced and rendered in slow motion.


“There is a fundamental and important obligation on the police and on the Crown to disclose any relevant material to the defence,” said Michael Spratt, a certified specialist in criminal law and partner at Abergel Goldstein & Partners.

“So whether it helps the defence or hurts the defence, whether it’s exculpatory, or whether it points to guilt, it all has to be disclosed.”


Playing an excerpt in slow motion, Spratt said, can be akin to adjusting the contrast or zooming in on a picture, or looking at a slow-motion sports replay.

“On the other hand, manipulating a video can lead to a change in perception,” Spratt said. “So certainly, if the video was manipulated to make things appear quicker, or slower, and that was hidden from an expert who is reviewing the video, that’s very different. But that is a very serious allegation to make.

“And when you drop these bombshell allegations as defence counsel, you better be in a position to back them up.”

Read Aedan Helmer’s full article: Ottawa Citizen

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