Police officer's manslaughter trial delayed over video concerns

The trial of the Ottawa police officer accused of manslaughter in the death of Abdirahman Abdi has been adjourned over concerns about video evidence.

Slowed-down video of Abdirahman Abdi's arrest came as 'bombshell,' Const. Daniel Montsion's lawyer tells court

Const. Daniel Montsion, centre, leaves the Ottawa courthouse alongside his legal team and Ottawa Police Association president Matt Skof, left, on Feb. 4, 2019. (Judy Trinh/CBC)

The trial of the Ottawa police officer accused of manslaughter in the death of Abdirahman Abdi has been adjourned over concerns about video evidence introduced just hours before the hearing began.

On Wednesday, three days into the trial of Const. Daniel Montsion, Ontario Court Justice Robert Kelly ordered an adjournment until Feb. 25.

On Tuesday, Montsion's defence argued a key video of Abdi's violent arrest in July 2016 had been slowed down, influencing a pathologist's opinion, and likely the decision to lay charges against the officer.

Defence lawyer Michael Edelson told the court the video had arrived as a "Sunday bombshell," because the Crown had only disclosed it the day before the trial began.

"Obviously, when you received disclosure after 30 months, on the ... Sunday afternoon, it was necessary," Edelson said of the adjournment as he exited the courthouse Wednesday.

Key piece of evidence

The court was not planning to sit during the week of Feb. 18, so including the time that would have been needed to argue the application for adjournment, the Crown told the court the delay would really only amount to three or four days.

The court heard Monday that the footage, captured by a security camera inside the lobby of the the building where Abdi's violent arrest took place, would be a centrepiece of the Crown's case against Montsion, who is also charged with aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

On Wednesday, the Crown agreed it would be appropriate to take extra time to go over the video.

Counsel Roger Shallow told the court the Crown has been working to deal with the new information.

Plans to show both the original and slowed-down videos in court Wednesday were cancelled.

Kelly has asked all parties to return to court on Feb. 13 to begin discussions so the trial can resume in a "formal way" on Feb. 25.