Ottawa

Montsion did not cause Abdi's injuries, defence argues

The bleeding and broken nose Abdirahman Abdi suffered during his violent arrest by police wasn't caused by Const. Daniel Montsion, the officer's lawyer argued Wednesday.

Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions and video of violence some may find disturbing

Const. Daniel Montsion, right, is on trial for manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the 2016 death of 37-year-old Abdirahman Abdi, left. (Supplied)

Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions and video of violence some may find disturbing. 


The bleeding and broken nose Abdirahman Abdi suffered during his violent arrest by police wasn't caused by Const. Daniel Montsion, the officer's lawyer argued in court Wednesday.

Montsion has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in connection to Abdi's death on July 24, 2016.

Surveillance video of the altercation played at Montsion's trial appears to show Montsion punch Abdi four times in the head while wearing gloves with reinforced knuckles, though the video has not yet been accepted as evidence.

The area in front of Abdi's apartment building where the altercation happened was covered in blood, including large pools on ground and spattered across the doors to the apartment building.

Montsion's defence team asserted in court on Wednesday that it was another officer, Const. Dave Weir, that caused that blood when he pushed Abdi to the ground to arrest him.

Blood spatter tells part of the story

Bloodstain expert Patrick Laternus explained over two days of testimony that, based on the patterns in the blood, it is unlikely Abdi was bleeding while standing.

That means he wasn't injured until he was on the ground, he said.

WARNING: Video contains graphic content

4 years ago
Duration 5:51
A longer version of the video secured as digital evidence in the trial of Const. Daniel Montsion. It appears to show Abdirahman Abdi being kicked and punched by police officers in front of the apartment building at 55 Hilda St.

Based on the video, Montsion appears to punch Abdi twice in the head in quick succession while he was on the ground.

At least one of those punches likely caused the blood to spatter on the doors of the apartment building. But Abdi would have had to have been bleeding before he was struck to cause the spatter, Laternus said.

Defence lawyer Michael Edelson suggested that if Montsion's first punch caused the bleeding, there wouldn't have been enough blood by the time he hit him again to cause the spatter.

Laternus said it was a good point, but he couldn't be sure.

Broken nose, facial bones

The other clue, Edelson offered, lies in the CT scan of Abdi's body after he was taken to the hospital.

Abdi suffered multiple fractures to his facial and nasal bones. The scan revealed a "nasal bone deviation" to the left, which means the force would have come from the right, Edelson said.

But Montsion was on the left, he said.

The most likely scenario, according to defence lawyers, is that Abdi's nose was injured when Weir pushed him down, and Montsion spattered the blood with one of his punches.

It could have major repercussions for the Crown's case if the prosecution cannot prove Montsion actually injured Abdi.

A forensic pathologist may be able to shed more light on Abdi's injuries later in the trial.

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