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Veltman murder trial: Crown to continue closing arguments

WARNING: The video and the details in this article may be disturbing to some viewers

The Crown is set to continue its closing arguments today at the trial of a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ont.

In addressing jurors in a Windsor, Ont., courtroom Tuesday, the Crown argued 22-year-old Nathaniel Veltman carried out a terrorist act on June 6, 2021.

The defence has argued Veltman is not guilty of first-degree murder, nor did he commit an act of terrorism, because he didn't have criminal intent to kill the victims and didn't deliberately plan the attack.

Veltman has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

The trial has heard that Veltman hit the Afzaal family with his truck while they were out for a walk.

Forty-six-year-old Salman Afzaal; his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman; their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna; and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed in the attack, while the couple's nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived. 


The defence spent Tuesday presenting their closing arguments to a 13-person jury, and argued that the jurors should instead consider a manslaughter conviction, and not murder.

A conviction on first-degree murder requires the jury to believe, beyond reasonable doubt, an accused person's actions were planned and deliberate.

Hicks told the jury he doesn’t believe the Crown proved these points.

Hicks reminded the jury about the forensic psychiatrist’s evidence about Veltman’s mental illnesses. Those combined with consuming psilocybin before the attack and the death of his great-grandmother all contributed to Veltman’s detached state at the time of the attack.

The defence also disputed Veltman had a specific intent, which is required for a second-degree murder conviction, according to the Criminal Code of Canada.

"The urge was to drive at them, to drive at Muslims, to crash into them," but not to kill the Afzaal family members, Hicks said to the jury. “Nate Veltman had no time to deliberate. In his state, he [Veltman] was not capable of appreciating the consequences of his actions."

Hicks asked the jury to consider manslaughter: "When there's a death but a death that's not intentional that manslaughter.”

In reference to the terrorism charges, Hicks referred to Veltman’s manifesto ‘A White Awakening,’ but said Veltman did not share the document with anyone, nor did he advocate for violence.

A pivotal piece of evidence at trial has been the video-taped police statements in which Veltman admitted to his actions and his motivations to avenge alleged Muslim on white crimes he believed were underreported by mainstream media.

The defence referred to those interviews as “interrogations” by London Police Service Det. Micah Bourdeau and called them a “planned exercise to break Nate Veltman.”

The defence believed at the time of his first admission to police, Veltman was suffering from “adverse effects” of consuming psilocybin which left him feeling detached and depersonalized.

"No pillow, no blanket, no heat, no food, no fluids," Hicks said to the jury. “Mr. Veltman was very much alone."

Following the defence’s closing argument, the Crown began presenting its closing arguments to the jury.

“You have it all,” Crown Attorney Fraser Ball told the jury. “Everything you could possibly need to convict in this case.”

Ball detailed the list: eyewitnesses to the murders, video capturing the murder, the murder weapon (the truck), DNA evidence, data from the truck, photographs from the scene, a 911 call, Veltman’s manifesto, and a full confession.

Ball asked the jury to dismiss Veltman’s assertion that he tried to steer away from the family at the last second because the truck data and eyewitness accounts did not support it.

“Mr. Veltman was completely aware of the consequences of his actions,” Ball said.

A 9-1-1 call made by a cab driver was then played for the jury, during which the jury can hear Veltman interject saying, “It was me. I did it on purpose.”

Later on, Ball noted Veltman’s manifesto ‘A White Awakening’ was easily uncovered by police, on a USB drive that was left out in the open in his apartment, and it was not password protected.

"Nathaniel Veltman had a message for Muslims. It was strong. It was brutal. It was terrifying. 'Leave this country or you and your loved ones could be next,'" Ball told the jury.

The manifesto started with an apology to his readers for rambling on, and Ball questioned why he would do so if it wasn’t meant to be shared at some point.

Finally, the Crown asked the jury to give no weight to the evidence presented by forensic psychiatrist Dr. Julian Gojer, who was called by the defence.

“A heavily biased expert is no expert at all,” Ball said to the jury. Top Stories

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