Toronto

Taxi driver in longboarder trial guilty of manslaughter

A jury has found Toronto taxi driver Adib Ibrahim not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of manslaughter in the death of skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette.

Jury finds Adib Ibrahim not guilty of second-degree murder

A jury has found Toronto taxi driver Adib Ibrahim, pictured, not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of manslaughter in the death of skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette. (CBC)

A jury has found Toronto taxi driver Adib Ibrahim not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of manslaughter in the death of skateboarder Ralph Bissonnette.

The Crown accused Ibrahim, 46, of deliberately running down Bissonnette, who was riding his longboard on King Street East on May 14, 2012. 

The taxi driver had testified he didn't see Bissonette, 28, when he ran over him with his taxi cab. He also testified that he did not try to hit, kill, or scare Bissonnette with his car.

Bissonnette was thrown to the curb and his board snapped in two. He was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police initially treated the death as an accident, but later alleged Bissonnette was intentionally run over after a verbal exchange with the cab driver. 

After the verdict was handed down, defence lawyer Peter Thorning told reporters that the jury's manslaughter finding was likely "based on dangerous driving."

"Probably they found him guilty of dangerous driving and unfortunately Mr. Bissonette died and so it's manslaughter," Thorning said outside the University Avenue courthouse. "And that's what I think happened."

Thorning went on to say that the incident "was a terrible accident, a tragic accident" that devastated his client.

"He deeply regrets what it is that happened that day," Thorning said. "He was very upset by it."

Toronto police Det.-Sgt. Terry Browne called the investigation "a tough case for everyone involved," and said the verdict has given Bissonette's family "some peace of mind."

Browne spoke to Bissonette's mother, who could not be in court on Friday due to a recent death in the family.

"She's quite pleased with the result and obviously we anticipate or hope that she will be able to attend sentencing," Browne said.

Ibrahim is scheduled to be sentenced in early February, at which time he will appeal his verdict, Thorning said.

now