Police officer charged in Abdirahman Abdi's death to face trial in 2019
Const. Daniel Montsion charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault, assault with a weapon
The Ottawa police officer facing criminal charges in the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi is scheduled to face a judge-only trial beginning in February 2019.
Abdi, a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man with unspecified mental health issues, lost vital signs during a confrontation with Const. Daniel Montsion and Const. Dave Weir on July 24, 2016. He was pronounced dead in hospital the following afternoon.
A CBC News investigation later uncovered that Montsion had been wearing a pair of reinforced gloves during the confrontation.
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Ontario's police watchdog was called in to investigate, and in March 2017 the Special Investigations Unit charged Montsion with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.
The Ontario Court of Justice has set aside about 12 weeks for the trial, which is scheduled to take place from Feb. 4 to May 3, 2019.
Montsion waives right to speedy trial
Montsion is being defended by lawyer Michael Edelson, who has represented a number of Ottawa police officers charged with criminal offences. A judge from out of town is handling the case, and Toronto-based prosecutor Philip Perlmutter has been assigned by the Crown.
Perlmutter told court Wednesday that the earliest available date provided by the courthouse was in September 2018, but that Edelson's schedule wouldn't allow for the trial to start at that time.
Edelson formally waived Montsion's right to claim in the future that his right to a speedy trial was violated.
Last year the Supreme Court established new rules about the length of time it should take for charges to be brought to trial: In provincial courts, it should take no longer than 18 months from the time charges are laid.
In Montsion's case, it will be about 23 months.
Outside the courtroom, a co-chair of the Justice for Abdirahman Abdi Coalition said they're disappointed with the delay. Dahabo Ahmed Omer calls it unfair on Abdi's family as well as the community.
Montsion was assigned to desk duty throughout the SIU's investigation and has been suspended with pay since the charges were laid.