January 20, 2016 12:59 pm
Updated: January 20, 2016 2:46 pm

5 things the jury didn’t hear at the Sammy Yatim trial

Sammy Yatim holds a knife while on a streetcar in Toronto on July 26, 2013 in this still taken from court handout surveillance video. A Toronto jury that will decide the fate of a police officer accused in the shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim watched several videos of the incident Wednesday showing the teen crumple to the floor of an empty streetcar.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Ontario Superior Court of Justice

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.

Story continues below

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.

READ MORE: Jury begins deliberations in trial of Toronto cop charged in shooting death of teen

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


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.

READ MORE: Judge delivers final instructions to jurors who will decide Forcillo’s fate

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


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.

READ MORE: Forcillo trial: Crown tells jurors officers who testified biased in favour of accused

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


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.

READ MORE: Woman recalls knife threat at trial of cop accused of streetcar murder

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


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.

READ MORE: Toronto cop’s partner says she believed Sammy Yatim was ‘going to get himself shot’

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

Report an error


Comments closed.

Due to the sensitive and/or legal subject matter of some of the content on globalnews.ca, we reserve the ability to disable comments from time to time.

Please see our Commenting Policy for more.