5 things the jury didn’t hear at the Sammy Yatim trial
TORONTO — A Toronto jury has spent more than two months hearing the case of Const. James Forcillo, accused of second-degree murder and attempted murder in the 2013 shooting of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim. Here are five details about the case the jury didn’t hear in court.
Forcillo’s lawyer sought to have a mistrial declared after arguing that he wasn’t being allowed to bring forward evidence to counter the Crown’s portrayal of Yatim as a drugged, confused teen in need of help.
The judge presiding over the case dismissed the mistrial application, saying that it would be made “crystal clear” to the jury that Yatim’s state of mind was unknown to Forcillo and played no part in the officer’s decision to shoot.
Justice Edward Then said the only issue for the jury in the case was to determine how Yatim’s conduct may or may not have been perceived by Forcillo, and whether his perception of that conduct was justified.
WATCH: Crown in Forcillo trial wraps closing arguments
‘SUICIDE BY COP’ THEORY:
Forcillo’s defence lawyers wanted to introduce a theory that Yatim committed “suicide by cop” on the night he died.
Peter Brauti hoped to argue that Yatim was depressed, using drugs and cared very little about his life when he pulled a knife on a streetcar, sparking a panicked exodus.
Brauti suggested Yatim didn’t comply with police orders to drop his knife because he didn’t care about his own life and was prepared to act in a way that could cause police to take actions resulting in his death.
WATCH: Dramatic video with audio captures final moments of Sammy Yatim’s life before being fatally shot by police
YATIM’S CELLPHONE DATA:
Brauti wanted to introduce evidence that would show Yatim conducted an Internet search from his phone on easy ways to commit suicide, supporting his suicide-by-cop theory.
He also wanted to introduce text messages into evidence that would suggest Yatim was stressed, having financial problems and wanted to apply for welfare.
WATCH: Crown prosecutors call James Forcillo ‘hothead’ and ‘bully’ in closing arguments
YATIM’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER:
The jury didn’t hear about Yatim’s allegedly troubled relationship with his father. Brauti said in court, while the jury wasn’t present, that Yatim was kicked out of the house by his dad some weeks before he was killed.
The jury heard that Yatim asked for a phone to call his father on the night of his standoff with Forcillo.
Brauti wanted to bring forward an expert on suicide by cop whose testimony could suggest Yatim didn’t want to call his father for help that night, but rather was suicidal and likely wanted to call his dad to blame him for his problems.
WATCH: Forcillo defense team completes closing arguments in Sammy Yatim trial
CHANGE OF VENUE MOTION:
Before jurors were even selected, Forcillo’s lawyers sought to have the trial moved to a different city.
They argued that a jury selected in Toronto might be biased because Forcillo’s shooting of Yatim captured the city’s attention.
Cellphone videos of the teen’s shooting went viral online and his death sparked a protest against police aggression that was attended by hundreds of residents.
WATCH: Forcillo’s partner testifies Sammy Yatim’s actions were going to get him shot
© 2016 The Canadian Press