On the first day of court proceedings, the Crown began to lay out a case for motive and intent in the killing of commercial lawyer Scott Rosen in December 2020.
In its opening statements of the jury trial, the Crown argued that Anh Thu Chiem, accused of killing Rosen and facing first-degree murder charges, had planned the attack for multiple days with a rented U-Haul pickup truck.
Chiem was 62 years old when the arrest took place.
“It had been rented three times (before the attack),” said Crown prosecutor Corie Langdon.
Rosen was struck and killed on Dec. 18 in the parkade of the commercial building on Eglinton Avenue East, where his office was located. The 52-year-old father of two was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police at the time alleged that Chiem had driven a white U-Haul rental pickup truck, which she used to attack Rosen.
“The white U-Haul pickup reversed and struck Scott Rosen again,” Langdon said in her opening remarks.
The Crown told the jury that Chiem had allegedly rented the U-Haul each day between Dec. 15 and 17 before ultimately carrying out the attack on the 18th. The Crown said the U-Haul was recovered nearly 90 minutes later from a parking lot near Bathurst Street and Dundas Street West.
The Crown called the case “about money and murder,” highlighting that Rosen and Chiem had an allegedly fraught history with each other, with the former representing Chiem’s now-former son-in-law, Peter Voong.
Voong owned Castleform Developments and was married to Chiem’s daughter Chau. The trio had a working agreement to buy, subdivide and develop property in Etobicoke, but there was a disagreement between Voong, Anh and Chau with the properties, the Crown told the court.
On Jan. 10, 2019, a judge ordered Anh and Chau to pay Castleform Developments $37,000 and dismissed a countersuit. The judge called it “an unfortunate matter that has the undertones of a failing family relationship.”
The problems didn’t stop there, according to the Crown. In her opening statement, Langdon said that Anh Chiem had been dealing with significant financial losses and had filed for bankruptcy. In that instance, Rosen was acting against Chiem, who, the Crown argued, had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt at the time.
Chiem then wrote multiple letters to the Ontario Law Society to have Rosen disbarred, the Crown claimed. In one of the letters, Chiem allegedly wrote to the Law Society of Ontario that it “does not protect anybody but lawyers,” insisting that “the system is broken” if no action would be taken against Rosen.
Rosen’s former legal partner Bryan Fromstein called him a good man who cared about his family and wasn’t entirely consumed by his work.
“He made time to watch them play hockey. … He was there for his family,” he told the court.