Toronto

Sammy Yatim's family wipe away tears as they speak at Forcillo's sentencing

Sammy Yatim's mother wept as she told the court she missed her son with "every cell of her being," describing her family's pain since the Toronto teen was fatally shot by a police officer on an empty streetcar nearly three years ago.​

Crown says officer failed to make use of training, defence says mandatory minimum sentence not appropriate

'Nothing in this world will compensate me for the loss of my son,' Sahar Bahadi, the mother of Sammy Yatim, said after Const. James Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Sammy Yatim's mother wept as she told the court she missed her son with "every cell of her being," describing her family's pain since the Toronto teen was fatally shot by a police officer on an empty streetcar nearly three years ago.​

"I know nothing in this world will compensate me for the life of my son. All I ask is justice," Sahar Bahadi said, reading from a victim impact statement. "I want Sammy's death to mean something."

The Crown asked the judge to sentence Const. James Forcillo to eight to 10 years in prison, while the defence has argued that the Toronto officer be punished with house arrest instead. 

The teen's mother, father and sister choked up as they addressed the court and, later, the media. 

​"I miss him terribly," Bill Yatim said in his victim impact statement. "I still can't believe my boy is gone.  I see someone who looks like him down the street, and I jump."

Yatim was shot to death on July 27, 2013 after police responded to reports of a passenger carrying a weapon on a Toronto streetcar.

A sentencing hearing for Forcillo, the Toronto police officer convicted in the death of Yatim, is underway in Ontario Superior Court. Forcillo was found guilty of attempted murder.

The defence is now presenting a rebuttal of arguments presented by the Crown earlier this week.

The Crown argued Tuesday that Forcillo failed to make use of police training in "non-forceful" techniques from the moment he got out of his police cruiser the night that Yatim was killed.

TTC video footage shows Sammy Yatim, 18, drawing a knife on a streetcar shortly before being shot and Tasered in July 2013. (TTC security video)

Crown prosecutor Milan Rupic told Justice Edward Then that Forcillo could have avoided the sequence of events that led to the death of Yatim had he approached the situation differently. 

Rupic said Forcillo did not try to de-escalate the situation.

Yatim was shot to death on a stopped, empty streetcar on Dundas Street West near Bellwoods Avenue in Toronto. 

In January, a jury acquitted Forcillo of second-degree murder, but convicted him of attempted murder for continuing to fire at Yatim after the wounded teen had already fallen to the floor of the streetcar.

Const. James Forcillo, convicted of attempted murder in the shooting of Sammy Yatim, still awaits a judge's decision on his sentencing. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Forcillo's defence team argued last week that he should be held under house arrest instead of serving time behind bars. It has argued that a mandatory minimum sentence in this case is unconstitutional and was not intended to apply to police officers who must carry guns and protect the public.

The Crown has said Forcillo should go to prison for more than five years and a mandatory minimum sentence is reasonable for attempted murder. It has also said Forcillo should be sentenced to more than five years so the constitutionality of the sentence is not an issue.

Submissions on sentencing are expected to follow statements from Yatim's family.

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