Lawyer for accused in Garden Restaurant shooting wants jury to reject police testimony

A lawyer for Harvard Mckenzie, who is accused of murder in the Garden Restaurant shooting, called on the jury during closing arguments on Wednesday to reject the testimony of Const. Lorenzino Censoni, whom he described as an unreliable witness.

Const. Lorenzino Censoni has an 'awful memory,' defence lawyer says during closing arguments

Defence lawyer Gary Grill, far right, delivered his closing arguments to the jury Wednesday while his client, Havard McKenzie, front-centre, looked on. (Pam Davies)

The lawyer for a man accused of murder in the Garden Restaurant shooting called on the jury during closing arguments on Wednesday to reject the testimony of Const. Lorenzino Censoni, whom he described as an unreliable witness.

Havard McKenzie is on trial in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Tariq Mohammed, who was gunned down in a brazen attack at the packed downtown restaurant in late 2014.

The crown's case centres on three key pieces of evidence — McKenzie's fingerprint on a door that was touched by one of the shooters in the restaurant, surveillance video of the shooting, and the testimony of Censoni, who had previously met McKenzie and later identified him as one of the men in the surveillance video.

But McKenzie's lawyer, Gary Grill, told the jury Wednesday Censoni was an unreliable witness who had an "awful memory" and accused Censoni of giving inconsistent evidence during the trial. 

"At the end of the day you should reject [Const. Censoni's] testimony entirely," Grill said.

"Honest would not be a word used to describe Const. Censoni ... [he is] not reliable, not credible; a definite red flag in eyewitness identification cases."

Tariq Mohammed, a 31-year-old Mississauga man, was killed in the shooting at the Garden Restaurant in Nov. 2014. (Toronto Police Service)

At the time of the shooting, Mohammed and a group of people were eating at the Dundas Street West restaurant when an altercation began involving two other men.

Police say one of the two men at that table fired shots, killing Mohammed, a 31-year-old Mississauga man, and injuring two women in their 20s.

McKenzie told the court on May 14 that he was not in the restaurant at the time of the shooting.

But Crown Attorney Barb Glendinning said the surveillance video proves that he was.

"When considered as a whole, the evidence establishes that Havard McKenzie is shooter number two and guilty of second-degree murder," she told the jury during the Crown's final arguments.

Jury deliberations are expected to begin next week.

With files from Farrah Merali