Toronto teen acquitted after fatal stabbing on high school property

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Ontario teen acquitted of manslaughter in death of friend
WATCH: Ontario teen acquitted of manslaughter in death of friend – Jun 21, 2024

Ahmed Rafin was acting in self-defence when he held a knife in his hand during a swarming attack outside Victoria Park Collegiate Institute on Nov. 16, 2021, a court has ruled.

On Friday, Superior Court Justice Katherine Corrick acquitted Rafin of the manslaughter of his friend 15-year-old Maahir Dosani, a Grade 11 student at the school.

During the trial, court heard 19-year-old Rafin, who was very good friends with Dosani, came to the school that day at Dosani’s request so he could be there when he fought a Grade 9 student who had beaten Dosani up the month before. The student was upset after hearing rumours Dosani was flirting with his older sister.

A video of the attack against Dosani was circulated on social media. Court heard he was humiliated and felt the only way he could restore his reputation was to fight the Grade 9 student one-on-one.

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Rafin and Dosani were inside the school but left when they realized the Grade 9 student was not on school property that day. As they were walking across the field, after being asked to leave by a staff member, court heard 30 to 50 students surrounded Rafin.

He then removed a knife from a pocket and displayed it to the crowd before he was swarmed. The angry mob kicked, punched and stomped on him while he was on the ground. Many bystanders recorded the attack on their cellphones. The videos were shown in court. Dosani can be seen attempting to help his friend by pulling people away from him and the knife in Rafin’s hand can be seen during the attack.

A collapsible baton could also be seen in the video. When the attack, which lasted for more than a minute, was over, two students sustained severe cuts to their legs. Maahir Dosani was lying lifeless and was bleeding profusely. Two students tried to help him but he would die from a single stab wound to his neck.

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Corrick found Rafin, who testified in his own defence, to be a credible and reliable witness. She believed him when he said he always carried a knife with him which he used at work.

“He was leaving and did not expect to be attacked by an angry mob of students,” Corrick said. “He testified once he was punched, he held onto the knife instinctively. This is not unreasonable given the brutality of the attack.”

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Corrick said she reviewed the video of the attack several times and did not see Rafin intentionally stabbing anyone at any time. She also said there was a good deal of evidence that students at Victoria Park carried knives and other weapons because there were fights at the school.

Rafin testified someone had an extendible metal baton and others had knives and he was fearful.

Ahmed Rafin (centre) talks to Global News’ Catherine McDonald with his lawyers. Global News

“Mr. Rafin was facing a hostile crowd of between 30 and 50 students, some of whom were armed. Mr. Rafin did not initiate the violence in the field as he was leave the school property after being asked. He was confronted by an angry mob, he displayed the knife when he was confronted by several students who were armed. He was retreating during the incident,” Corrick added.

The judge called Rafin’s response proportionate to the threat he was facing and said his avenues of escape were blocked.

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“This case is unspeakably tragic and it was driven by some distorted view of honour,” the judge concluded.

Outside court, Rafin’s lawyer said his client feels vindicated but the verdict is not a reason for celebration. “Ahmed Rafin lost a close friend. A young man — both his parents lost a 15-year-old boy,” said Adam Weisberg who said Dosani was trying to protect his friend.

“While he’s relieved it’s over, he feels vindicated that anything he did do was in self-defence,”

Weisberg said there would never have been justice for Maahir Dosani but believes if the people who participated in the swarming that attacked Ahmed Rafin with batons and weapons had been prosecuted for manslaughter, unlawful act gang assault, then maybe there would have been a chance at justice.

Rafin was also sent to hospital after the attack which left him unconscious. Weisberg says his family has been through a lot of stress, trauma and financial pressures over the past two-and-a-half years since this tragedy. Now 21, Rafin is studying at university with the goal of getting into law school.

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