December 4, 2018 6:24 am
Updated: December 4, 2018 12:27 pm

Man accused of killing 10 in Toronto van attack has trial date set for Feb. 3, 2020

Lawyer Boris Bytensky, representing Alek Minassian, who faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection with April's deadly van attack in Toronto, spoke with reporters Tuesday after the trial date for his client was set for February 2, 2020.

A A

TORONTO – A months-long trial is set to begin in February 2020 for a man accused of killing 10 people while driving a van down a sidewalk in north Toronto.

Alek Minassian, of Richmond Hill, Ont., faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder in connection with the April 23 incident.

Police allege the 26-year-old drove a rental van down a busy sidewalk along Toronto’s bustling Yonge Street, striking down pedestrians on the way. Eight women and two men ranging in age from 22 to 94 died in the attack.

Story continues below

READ MORE: Case of Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian heading straight to trial

During a brief hearing on Tuesday, which marked the first time the case appeared before the Superior Court of Justice, Minassian’s trial was set for Feb. 3, 2020.

Justice John McMahon set aside up to four months for the trial.

There was some discussion in court about the possibility of setting a trial date for September, 2019, but Minassian’s lawyer, Boris Bytensky, said a 2020 date was more realistic in order to allow enough time to prepare for the high-profile case.

“If the matter proceeds to trial, I want to make sure there’s no further hiccups or further adjournments required,” he said outside court.

VIDEO: Toronto van attack suspect’s lawyer on when he will make actual court appearance

When asked about a possible plea in the case, Bytensky demurred.

“We’re not at the stage where pleas are really being discussed,” he said.

The defence is still receiving disclosure, he said.

“Frankly there’s been a significant amount to disclose, but just because of the sheer volume there’s only so much we can get through in the time that we’ve had so far,” Bytensky said.

READ MORE: Survivor of Toronto van attack still grappling with incident months later

Last month, court heard the deputy attorney general granted the prosecution’s request to skip the preliminary hearing in the case and head straight to trial.

Minassian wasn’t present in court on Tuesday and he won’t likely appear for a while, Bytensky said.

“He’s not coming back to court until there’s a reason for him coming back to court,” the lawyer said.

A judicial pre-trial has been scheduled for Jan. 30, 2019 and the next hearing in the case is set for Jan. 31, 2019.

VIDEO: Attorney calls for greater financial support for Toronto van attack victims

© 2018 The Canadian Press

Report an error

Comments

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.