Monday, April 18, 2016

Convicted of attempted murder, Forcillo fights to serve time at home

It would make a “mockery” of the justice system if Toronto police officer James Forcillo is given the mandatory minimum sentence, the officer’s lawyers argue in a constitutional challenge to sections of the Criminal Code.

Constable Forcillo, who was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting death of Sammy Yatim during a confrontation on a Toronto streetcar, is asking a judge to strike down the mandatory minimum provisions that would send him to prison for four years (or five if his gun is deemed to be a restricted weapon). He is also challenging a section that prohibits a conditional sentence in the case.

“This is not about giving state actors special treatment,” the officer’s lead lawyer, Peter Brauti, said in written submissions filed in Ontario Superior Court earlier this month. “It is about ensuring that when we ask men or women to arm themselves to protect the larger community, we will treat them justly and fairly when they make mistakes concerning how they use force because we placed upon them the responsibility of engaging in the conflict in the first place.”

The officer’s acquittal on a charge of second-degree murder means the use of lethal force was justified and the mandatory minimum penalty is “grossly disproportionate” to the conduct that resulted in his attempted murder conviction, his lawyers argue.

Superior Court Justice Edward Then will hear the constitutional challenge beginning on May 16 as part of the sentencing process for Constable Forcillo, who is free on bail.  (more...)

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