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Back in Superior Court for day 2 of the Bruce McArthur sentencing hearing. The courtroom is about half full today. Justice John McMahon has just entered the courtroom. More victim impact statements to be heard before the crown and defence make sentencing submissions
The serial killer has just walked in. Hunched over as usual wearing black jeans and the same plaid shirt & black cable knit sweater as yesterday. Crown telling McMahon, a sketch artist is requesting to sit in front of the bar so she can get a better view of Bruce McArthur
Justice McMahon takes no issues with it. The sketch artist who made the request is Pam Davies who sketches for @globalnewsto. All the sketch artists are now sitting in the jury box so today we will have drawings of McArthur’s face & his expressions, rather than his profile
Mr Richard Kikot is giving the next victim impact statement. Met Selim Esen during a program Esen took part in. Kikot assumed the worst when Esen went missing.
“Selim shared with me that he would often spend nights walking the streets of the city. Not aimlessly but purposely. He was a romantic ..,,It’s impossible for me not to imagine absolute fright and complete terror. Selim was so impossibly vulnerable. Selim wasn’t in a high ..,
Point in life. He was struggling”. We learned yesterday that Esen likely was picked up by McArthur near Yonge and Bloor on April 14, 2017
This is a community impact statement from a worker from St Stephens. He was taking a program there for peer support. Workers there feel Grief, outrage. “Selim Esen was a brilliant man and a beacon of hope. It feels inconceivable to think about how his life is ended”
“As the months slipped away it became harder to believe that Selim was still with us. He did not deserve this. Nothing can reconcile what happened. There’s nothing more heinous than seeking out the most vulnerable of individuals”
“The people who surrounded him will forever be pained by his loss. This nightmare has left deep scars. Selim Esen was loved by so many. He will never be forgotten.” McArthur appears to be listening closely. He has a slight frown on his face
“The absence of safety and security generates a breeding ground for our predators” talking about the vulnerable people that McArthur preyed on
Now a statement is being read out by Jean Guy Cloutier. Skanda Navaratnam’s best friends “Skanda was a very proud man. He took well of his appearance, he was well groomed and always made sure he was seen in a positive light” he was outgoing, social & helped others
“The news crushed me. Finally I had answers to his whereabouts. From sept 2010 to Jan 2018 I thought of Skanda everyday.” He would constantly look for him on the subway. “I felt lost and prayed that he was ok. When a person goes missing it brings up another level of anxiety ..,
... and a loss that is difficult to describe”. He felt sorrow anger and frustration after he learned he was among the men who had been found. Cloutier and another friend reported him missing in 2010. “I hope he did not suffer and his death was quick”
“Justice is being served but it will never bring him back to us. I will forever be changed due to this crime. I feel blessed to have had a true good friend like Skanda”. He loved animals, and his husky. Since his disappearance I have had several panic attacks
Kareema Faizi, wife of Abdulbasir Faizi is next. She’s not here. It’s being read out. “My daughters suffer terribly knowing what happened to their father. I hear them crying constantly. They were 6 and 10 years old at the time he disappeared ..,
Memories ... that’s all they have left of him now. I have a tough time sleeping and cannot control my emotions. I have pain all over my Body. Since this offence happened, my hands are shakey. I feel very scared. I’m especially concerned about my 2 daughters safety”
Next is Majeed Kayhan’s brother. Don’t know his first name. Statement being read out. “I don’t know that I can properly describe the pain and suffering my family and I have gone through, throughout the years.” This crime. Still can’t comprehend how it happened
Majeed was the youngest of the siblings. “I belong to a family and it has affected us in different ways. This is merely a humble attempt to express a minute portion of it. This offence has been described by the media of the first of its kind in Canada”
“I don’t know if the media can understand that our family would really appreciate privacy.” Says he’s suffered migraines and has had to miss work. Also financial impact .”if the offender is never released, I don’t have fear of contact regarding the offender”
Soroush Mahmudi’s wife is next. Umme Fareena Marzook. She’s in court but is not reading the statement. She reported him missing in 2015 when he didn’t come home from work. She fainted when she learned he’d been murdered. It’s had an impact on her mental
“I am unable to function as a normal person since I heard this tragic news” she has insomnia, flashbacks, nightmares from the trauma and grief of losing her soulmate. She’s had to leave her job. “I feel very angry about the killer. My pain and suffering is will always be there..
As long as I live”. (Woman can be heard weeping from one of the back rows of the courtroom) “my deceased husband worked full time and since his disappearance I have been suffering financially because he was the main bread winner”.
Says news coverage is traumatizing for her to watch. She is now on social assistance and dependent on food banks. She has PTSD. Only accessing free trauma therapy since Oct 2018. Afraid to come into contact with the offender. Fears if not convicted, he will kill her and ...
... her family because the killer will remember her case from court. Justice McMahon tells Ms Marzook the statement was very brave
Next victim impact statement being read out by Piranavan Thangavel, friend of Skandaraj Kanagaratnam. He’s a friend from Sri Lanka from came over by boat with Skanda as a refugee in 2010. Skanda disappeared in 2015 but it was only in 2018 they realized he was dead.
“This really could have been any of us or other refugees who live in fear in Canada” says they travelled over 3 months in open sea. When they landed in canada they felt indescribable joy. But now “many of us are in limbo ...To kill someone is beyond horror.”
This refugee says he survived the war in Sri Lanka. They feel like there’s no safety for them anywhere in the world. Feels fear, despair and trauma. “I feel that we are weak and powerless people since such murders”
Breaking now. We are expecting at least 4 more victim impact statements
Correction the last victim impact statement was a friend of Kirushna Kanagaratnam. He was the Sri Lankan refugee.
Richard Kikot, friend of Selim Esen
Back in court. Next victim impact statement is being given by Julie Pearo. She is a cousin of Dean Lisowick. “I’ve never spoken his name. He is the guy who killed my cousin. I do not hate him. I’m not even angry with him.”
Her love for Dean takes up all the love in her heart. “There’s no room for hatred or anger”. She says Dean’s face would light up when he spoke about his daughter. He loved introducing her to his friends. They always had fun together and were loyal in ways only family can be.
They were born 1 day apart. “I struggle with the finality of his death. I have nightmares. Terrifying ones. Waking nightmares that have made me lose focus, become despondent, get nauseous, have painful anxiety attacks”
I’ve become suspicious of men in the village. “With Dean’s death I feel emotionally paralyzed because there’s no way to deal with this. My cousin was murdered”
“I’m afraid that my heart with always ache for missing him. I’m afraid that I will never again be happy on my birthday because my grief on my birthday with his right next to mine, will overshadow it”
“I loved him so much and I’m angry with myself lacks everything that is my love for him. I just want to hug him and be hugged by him ... get old, i want him back”. Dean Lisowick’s cousin is finished
Gerry Montani, Dean Lisowick’s Uncle is next. It’s being read out. He’s not here. “Dean was a great joy to his parents. He kept in touch with them until he developed mental health issues which forced him to live his life on the streets”
Dean inherited his mother’s artistic talents. He was a father. He was proud when his daughter was born in 1994. Shortly after his illness took the best of him and he disappeared into the streets of Toronto. His mother’s heart was broken.
We didn’t know dean had assumed a street name of “Laser”. Dean was a loving and caring man. He was not alone in the world. People in the community knew him and tried to look out for him. With proper treatment, his life could have been turned around ...
But that opportunity was taken away from him. We miss him dearly”. Dean Lisowick’s Uncle
Next is the sister of Kirushna Kumar Kanagaratnam - her name is Kirushnaveny Yasotharan “now adays I am terrible angry. I feel vengeful towards Bruce McArthur. I am in a perpetual sleepless mind. I don’t want to live in this world which became so terribly cruel”
Shelley Kinsman, Andrew Kinsman’s youngest sister is next. It is being read out. Andrew developed an affinity for chess at age 4. They used to go to greenwood conservation where she taught him to swim, skate and ride a bike. When he was 12, she took him to disneyworld
“Andrew was the kindest and most compassionate sibling. He championed social justice issues. The loss of Andrew has been incredibly and monumentally difficult for me. I lost the only sibling I deeply cared for”
Last statement. Haran Vijayanathan, the exec director of south Asian aids prevention. Statement being read out. His work to creation of Toronto police missing persons review.
“The village still remains that beacon of safety for many who are new to the country. Things changed in 2012 when the first 3 men went missing. A large scare came over the community. Many didn’t want to go out.”
Upon learning of the arrest of McArthur, “this safety has been shattered”. Learning details of case. “The community was horrified and disgusted. What is especially troubling for the LGBTQ is that Bruce McArthur was a nice person”
“Within a broader community, Bruce McArthur has left us feel betrayed. Bruce McArthur has left a long standing fear. Members are on high alert. If there was one in our community, there could be others”
There is one more victim impact statement. They aren’t saying whose it is. McMahon says it will be filed. It will be filed as exhibit 5b. Now we hear it’s ms Frasers. Perhaps Karen Fraser. The homeowner from Mallory Cres. It’s not being read out
Now lawyers are taking about the suspension, or pardon - in regards to the 2000 assault with a metal pipe. I believe Justice McMahon says it may be used for the purpose of sentencing in light of the conviction.
Sentencing Submissions are now starting. Defence James Miglin and crown are talking about Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s case. Crown is starting submissions - saying that McArthur serially murdered these 8 gentleman but says it’s woefully inadequate to describe his moral blameworthiness
Mr McArthur is a sexual predator who preyed on his friends. He preyed on the most vulnerable. He tore these men away from family and friends. Struck fear in the community
Now talking about how in 2011, legislation changed to allow consecutive sentences. Crown: 2 murders happened before section 745.1 came into effect. Most court can give without parole eligibility is 150 years. Lowest sentence court can give us no parole eligibility for 25 years
Judge asks crown if he should consider McArthurs guilty plea sparing families the ordeal of going through a trial. Crown submits it should be considered “every case is unique and all factors have to be weighed within the context of each case”.
“All the factors, without exception denunciation deterrence & retribution must be given the most weight. But when you take in the enormity of his crimes. 8 victims over 7 yrs. Those factors take an even greater weight. They grossly outweigh the value attached to the guilty plea”
McMahon says safety of the public is likely most important factor in sentencing. And asks Crown: is that more important that general deterrence and denunciation? Crown says that is a very important principle.
Crown says ultimately a factor is that he harms no one else. To demonstrate the enormity of his crimes. His moral blameworthiness is as much as this court has ever seen.
#Breaking Crown is asking for 2 consecutive sentences. Bruce McArthur would not be eligible for parole until he’s 116. He says only 1 life sentence (concurrent life sentences), 25 year parole ineligibility would tether victims families to live with the fear of a parole hearing.
Crown submits that it look at Justice Code’s Millard sentence. (Dellen Millard was just given a 3rd consecutive sentence for murdering his father - won’t be eligible for parole for 75 years) Crown says Justice Code asks Are consecutive sentences unduly long or harsh?
Now looking at a picture on video monitors in the court showing all eight victims and the dates they were murdered. This is the first slide of a PowerPoint presentation, to help the crown with sentencing submissions “it is the crowns position for your honour what is ...
...a fit and just sentence” given consecutive sentencing is available. Crown says the gravity of the offences are exceptionally high even among multiple murders. These were planned and deliberate murders.
Crown says retribution is a highly central sentencing principle in relation to Mr McArthur. McArthur is still listening carefully. Slight frown on his face. Never looking around the court. Just straight ahead
The harm to victims, friend, family, community was high. Suffering of victims was immeasurable. Blameworthiness of McArthur. He’s at the extreme end. Now going into the nature of offender and the viability of rehabilitation and need for deterrence
Crown: In 2003 McArthur pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon and assault causing bodily harm from 2000. He was issued a pardon. Agreed statement in relation to that assault now being entered as an exhibit.
The attack on an individual he knew with a metal pipe. Caused significant injuries. 5 stitches. McArthur Got 2 years less a day and 3 years probation. He was under control from someone in the community until 2008
In 2016, he attacked another individual in the back of a van. He started strangling him. He was never charged. Until the day of his arrest. He was an ongoing danger. He put a bag over “John’s” and attempted duct taped his mouth. “John” was the 9th victim.
We know a file folder was found with “John”s name. McMahon says is part of the character how the accused has responded since his arrest. To the extent remorse is viewed as a character trait, crown says he thinks it’s a mitigating factor.
Crown refers to Robert Picton case. Says apart from Picton, no other murderer has been this bad in canada. Picton also preyed on the vulnerable. In that case, there were concurrent sentence. Now referring to Elizabeth Wettlaufer who confessed to her crimes.
McArthur did not confess. He was arrested due to diligent police work. Justice McMahon says all cases have significant differences. Crown says McArthurs murder were a breach of trust. Victims were his friends or partners. Navaratnam - they had been in a relationship and it ended
McMahon agrees his victims in many cases had trust. Crown says His relationship with Kinsman was at least a decade old. Judge says all these innocent folks were lured to their deaths on basically getting together on a consensual event that turned out not to be
McMahon apologizing to McArthur and court reporters. Says it’s time for a break. Crown says McArthur is entitled to a break every hour. Back at 12:30 at which time submissions from crown will continue. McArthur being led out. Head down face bright red.
Piranavan Thangavel, friend of Kirushna Kanagaratnam
Court has resumed. McArthur kept souvenirs of some of his victims, hair of victims obviously another kind of degradation. He dismembered his victims. All eight. And moved them around. Some of remains still to be found.
“He created a macabre cemetery of his victims. It was an act of self degradation and self gratification. He wanted to re-love each of his murders. He also wanted to avoid detection. He disposed of his ‘04 caravan. Told police after his arrest he hadn’t seen Mr Kinsman in a year”
Crown: Circumstances of his murders has undermined sense of security in LGBTQ community. We heard Sense of safety has been torn away from them in 2012 after three men went missing. Others speak to anger about these reprehensible crimes
Mitigating factors. McArthur waived preliminary inquiry. Pleaded guilty. Saved families reliving horror. Saved court time. But Crown says it also had a very strong case.
Rehabilitation: in this case. The weight is negligible. Crimes began midlife and considered over a 7 year time frame. “To this day there’s no explanation for why Mr McArthur committed these murders” he felt gratified by his killings and continued degradation after his murders
Crown says McArthur murdered these men for nothing more than what can be considered self gratification.
Crown says judge must consider parity. Similar sentences for similar offenders. There are no similar offenders to Mr McArthur. Dellen Millard got no parole eligibility for 75 years.
Justin Bourque, the man who killed 3 RCMP officers in Moncton got 3 consecutive life sentences. No chance of parole for 75 years.
Age of McArthur shouldn’t matter says crown, when it comes to sentencing. McArthur now 67. Sentence should be fit and appropriate. “The Royal prerogative of mercy should always be an option to someone facing parole eligibility”. (Got to check my law books as to what this means)
Parliament had made it know that a just and appropriate sentence can go well past the century mark. Mr Millard will be 102. McMahon says “Millard had 3 trials. Put three families thru hell and back”. McMahon says if he gives McArthur 2 consecutive sentences ....
... why would anyone ever want to plead guilty, waive the prelim, and not put the family thru it?” Crown says individuals will plead guilty for things as simple as “police did my job, they got me”.
Crown says at the end of the day it’s a life sentence. What is incentive to plead guilty? Crown says ultimately it is driven by factors beyond the courts control. Sentencing should not incentifize (sp) guilty pleas.
Judge says the question is “is there any room for mitigation? How would mitigation be reflected in the sentence you’re offering to this court?” Crown says “retribution is a measured response. Ultimately we could have asked for 150 years. Crown is not taking that position”
We are about to break for lunch. Crown has another 15 minutes to finish arguing it’s sentencing submissions and then we will hear from James Miglin, McArthur’s lawyer. And then the serial killer will have a chance to speak! (Sometimes offenders say nothing)
Back in court. Assistant Crown attorney Craig Harper continuing submissions. Addressing consecutive case sentences on the books. Talking about nature of murders and indignities of the victims. Says McArthur meets the threshold.
Crown says issue of age, life expectancy of an offender creates a paradox for those who are younger. “The math of age plus parole eligibility should not dictate the outcome. It does not exhaust symbolic and retribution and other principles of sentencing.”
Crown on consecutive sentencing “Age should not be a sword to defeat the principles of justice”
“This case has a haunting quality to it. The malignancy of the crimes and the fear that it spread is remarkable in its scope. The enormity and his intended moral blameworthiness. Words fail me to reflect the harm inflicted on family and friends and the community ...
In the crowns submission mr McArthur should receive a life sentence with parole ineligibility for 50 years”. McMahon asks if the impact on the community and families would be greater if this depravity came out in more detail in a trial? Crown says I don’t dispute the impact
Crown says “built into the guilty plea, Mr McArthur has spared that spectacle from happening, if I can phrase it that way. The plea pales in respect to his actions.”
James Miglin, McArthur’s lawyer is now making submissions. He concedes they were horrific offences. Moral blameworthiness of McArthur is exceptionally high. Calls for most severe penalties. Denunciation, deterrence, retribution are all principles that should consider.
Miglin says sole issue his honour must consider is consecutive sentencing which is discretionary. The sentence is life. Sole issue is whether to extend the parole ineligibility for a further 25 years.
2 unique issues of case. Mr McArthur’s age. If no additional period is added he’d be 91. He was arrested at 66. Second issue is the plea. Life expectancy of a Canadian male is 79. He will be under the jurisdiction of the Canadian government for the rest of his life
Miglin doesn’t dispute the nature of the crimes may well lead to the result of extending the parole ineligibility. But he says 116 years in these circumstances is unduly harsh.
Miglin says judge should give credit for guilty plea and waiving prelim. McArthur graduated from HS in Fenelon Falls. Married in ‘74. Had 2 children. Now grown. Had some health challenges. Suffers from diabetes and epilepsy. He’s medicated for that Has one criminal conviction
Miglin talks about wettlauffer. He says “it shares some features which compel the court to consider it. She was guilty on 8 counts of first degree like McArthur. Parity is a principle your honour needs to consider” in that case, there were more victims. she was 50 at sentencing
There was also early resolution of that case. Wettlaufer spared victims families trial. In this case, McArthur’s age is unique. All prisoners should have some hope, no matter how faint, that their imprisonment may end.
Miglin says it’s highly unlikely McArthur will ever be released on parole. Due to his age and the fact, he’ll be 91 by the time he can even apply. Waiving of preliminary hearing, guilty plea - says it’s long been held as message of significant remorse
Justice McMahon says “he’s saving families from brutal nature of trial. And he’s saving court time. But when you have 8 murders but to me that’s a big factor”
Miglin asking the judge not to apply consecutive parole ineligibility periods. Instead he wants a concurrent sentence.
McArthurs chance to speak. McMahon says he has pleaded guilty. Admitting to taking lives of eight men. Offers him opportunity to speak to court if he likes. McArthur says he doesn’t. he’s discussed it with his counsel and he relies on his counsels submissions
Justice John McMahon wants to bring this case to a quick resolution. We will be back this Friday Feb 8 for his decision on sentencing at 10 am sentencing
The direct quote from what McArthur said when asked by Justice McMahon if he wanted to say anything “no. I’ve spoken with my counsel and I don’t want to say anything”
Not surprisingly, McArthur spoke very quietly when he stood up and we, the media, had to huddle together to figure out his exact words
Krusnathansan Kanagaratnam outside court. Here from Sri Lanka to see justice done. Bruce McArthur killed his brother Kirushna, a refugee, in 2016. Says he wants McArthur to stay behind bars indefinitely so he can’t do this to anyone else
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