Psychiatrist for the Defence to Testify for Fifth Day at Toronto Van Attack Trial

December 4, 2020 Updated: December 4, 2020

TORONTO—A psychiatrist retained by the defence will testify for a fifth consecutive day today at the trial for the man behind Toronto’s deadly van attack.

Dr. Alexander Westphal says Alek Minassian does not truly understand the moral wrongfulness of killing 10 people but says criminal responsibility is a legal opinion, not a psychiatric one.

Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of attempted murder.

Minassian’s lawyer had said Westphal would be the only expert to say the 28-year-old should be found not criminally responsible for his actions due to autism spectrum disorder, but the psychiatrist has stopped short of making that conclusion.

Westphal says Minassian was incapable of rational decisions on April 23, 2018.

Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, leaving his state of mind at the time the sole issue at trial.

Minassian has repeatedly said he knows that killing is wrong.