The first person to plead guilty to setting a Toronto police car on fire during the G20 meeting in June 2010 has fired his lawyer and asked for a new trial.
Nicodemo Catenacci, 41, was supposed to be sentenced on Wednesday for a crime he now says he didn't commit. Catenacci admitted what he did in June of last summer was stupid, but said it wasn't arson.
"I woke up hungover from coke. I was like, 'Oh, I'll just throw a piece of paper in that car.' It didn't stay lit. I stuck my arm in again and it didn't stay lit. And they try to pin it on me because I was an easy target — no mask, I have a criminal record," he said outside the courthouse. "How hard was it to find out who I was?"
Carenacci is clearly identifiable in the images and video people took on June 26.
In them, the Windsor, Ont., man is seen lighting a newspaper on fire and putting it in an already damaged police cruiser on Queen Street West near Spadina Avenue.
Police charged Catenacci with arson. He had pleaded guilty but now said his lawyer gave him bad advice.
"She convinced me to plead guilty and I never wanted to plead guilty," he said.
The detective in charge of the investigation said he's surprised that Catenacci has changed his plea but it won't affect the prosecution.
"It's going to be arson. It's always going to be arson — never mischief," said Det.-Sgt. Gary Griroux of the Toronto police.
"I spoke to Crown and we are prepared anytime tomorrow to go to trial for arson, no problem," Giroux said.
Catenacci will be back in court on April 8 with a new lawyer.
A second man, Lekang Malangwa, has also been charged with arson in connection with the burning police car. He is in custody awaiting trial.