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Veltman murder trial: Jury not sitting on Wednesday

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

Cross examination of the London Police Service detective who interviewed Nathaniel Veltman in the hours after the attack on the Afzaal family continued Tuesday in a Windsor courtroom.

The jury will not be seated on Wednesday, so here’s a recap of what’s happened so far.

 

WHAT HAS HAPPENED DURING WEEK THREE SO FAR?

On Tuesday, London Police Service Det. Det. Micha Bourdeau, who interviewed Veltman in the hours after the attack, continued with his testimony.

Bourdeau has spent multiple days on the stand for the prosecution, including two days undergoing cross examination by Veltman’s defence lawyer Christopher Hicks.

Hicks questioned Bourdeau on Tuesday regarding Veltman’s mental state during the police interview, including bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t have any concerns...He (Veltman) did say he was a little shaky out of shock...but I had no concerns about his state of mind when we were talking,” Bourdeau testified.

At one point the officer was asked by the defence if he was startled to learn that Veltman was depressed and had ingested magic mushrooms the day before the crash.

In response, Bourdeau said, “It’s not an alarm bell for me...in his answers he (Veltman) talks about his state on June 6th.”

New video evidence was released on Monday at Hick’s request, which depicted Veltman’s progress through the LPS Headquarters in the first 24 hours after his arrest.

Veltman told the officer that following the crash, “I had a huge sense of relief...okay I did it, it’s over, I’m going to jail.”

In the interview, he told Bourdeau that he isn’t a white supremacist but rather someone who believes in nationalism, and said, “White people have the right to exist and we don’t have to give everything to foreigners,” he said.

Veltman said he didn’t have many friends and added, “I’ve prepared myself to spend the rest of my life in jail to send this message.”

When asked if he knew the Afzaal family Veltman said, “I can’t confirm or deny.”

During cross-examination, Hicks argued that the accused hadn’t slept on the night of the recorded police interview and that he hadn’t had much to eat. However, the jury heard the officer offered food to the accused several times.

Hicks also suggested Bourdeau conducted the police interview at 1 a.m. in an attempt to "take advantage of Mr. Veltman" and questioned the urgency of the timing of the interview.

In response, Bourdeau disagreed and testified, “Our city has never seen anything like this before. I would venture to say we didn’t know what we were dealing with. We didn’t know if there was further danger to the public.”

 

WHAT IS EXPECTED IN COURT ON WEDNESDAY?

Court will be in session on Wednesday, but the jury will not be seated as lawyers and the judge will be arguing legal matters that are subject to a publication ban.

The jury will return and the presentation of evidence will resume on Thursday. 

 

A RECAP OF WEEK ONE

Opening statements were made at the Windsor Superior Courthouse on Sept. 5.

Federal prosecutor Sarah Shaikh presented the jury with the evidence the Crown intends to call, in which Veltman intentionally drove his pickup truck into the Afzaal family “because they were Muslims.”

“I was planning on killing,” Veltman told police, according to Shaikh. “I knew what I did. I don’t regret what I did. I admit that it was terrorism.”

The first witnesses to take the stand were an Afzaal family member who told the jury his family was “peace loving” and a forensic identification specialist with the London Police Service who seized and edited surveillance videos as part of the investigation.

 

A RECAP OF WEEK TWO

On Sept. 12, a cab driver and 9-1-1 dispatcher took the stand for the prosecution, while two videos and a 9-1-1 call were played for the jury.

In the first video, a heavily damaged black pickup truck entered a London shopping centre moments after a family of five was run down.

The defence has acknowledged the driver of the truck was Nathaniel Veltman.

In the second video, Veltman was seen pulling up beside a taxi cab. The jury heard the cab driver testify that the pickup truck driver said to him, “Call the cops” followed by “I just hit someone. I just killed someone.”

When a 9-1-1 dispatcher asked for his name, the truck driver responded “Nate Veltman.” In the call with the dispatcher, Veltman said “It was me, it was me that did it. Come arrest me,” and when asked if he was injured replied, “No, I did it on purpose.”

Minutes later, London police arrived on scene, Veltman exited the truck, put his hands on his head and got to his knees to be arrested by two officers.

Testimony continued on Sept. 13 in which witness Lindsay Marshall told the jury she heard “an engine rev,” drive through the intersection at Hyde Park Road, go up onto the sidewalk and drive into either a “mailbox or a sign.”

It wasn’t until an officer arrived on scene Marshall realized it was a person she saw thrown 30 to 40 feet in the air.

In the days after, the jury watched four hours of surveillance video of Veltman’s movements inside the headquarters of the London Police Service following his arrest. In the video, Veltman was seen wearing a white t-shirt with a cross on it, pants no shoes on, and was not handcuffed. An officer described him as “cooperative” during his arrest.

On Sept. 14, the jury was shown nearby surveillance video that depicted the moments leading up to the crash. The video depicts the Afzaal family walking near the intersection of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road on June 6, 2021.

A black pickup truck is seen travelling north on Hyde Park Road while the family of five stand near the intersection. The court has previously heard that the pickup truck then made a U-turn and seconds later, the truck was seen speeding southbound in the direction of the family.

The video was edited by the court to stop before the moment of impact.

In the final day of week two, the jury watched surveillance videos on Sept. 15 of Veltman’s interview with police after the attack.

Veltman told police he became interested in politics during the 2016 U.S. presidential election and told police, “That’s the moment I discovered the media was dishonest...I went right down the rabbit hole.” He later said he felt like he was in jail and going insane during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The jury heard Veltman tell police he did not regret doing what he did and claimed it was revenge for crimes he believed were committed by Muslims. He acknowledged that he killed four members of the Afzaal family by crashing into them, and knew they were Muslim based on the clothes they were wearing.

“I decided this is it, I’m going to commit a terrorist attack...I wanted to give Muslims a taste of their own medicine,” he told police.

 

WHAT ELSE DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE TRIAL?

The trial got underway on Sept. 5 in which members of the jury were selected over a two-day process. In all, 14 jurors, consisting of eight men and six women, and two alternates were selected.

Last year, Justice Renee Pomerance moved the trial from London to Windsor.

On Sept. 8, it was determined that after some “intense negotiations,” the number of witnesses expected to by the Crown ended up being cut down.

It’s estimated that the trial will now take approximately eight weeks.

 

THE JUNE 6, 2021 ATTACK

On June 6, 2021 five members of the Afzaal family were out for a summer walk along Hyde Park Road in west London when they were run down by a pickup truck in what police allege was a hate motivated attack.

Four people died, including father Salman, mother Madiha, 15-year-old daughter Yumna, and grandmother Talat. The lone survivor was a nine-year-old boy who was injured, and has since recovered. He is now living with relatives.

Moments after the crash, London police arrested and charged Nathaniel Veltman, now 22 years of age. He has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

— With files from CTV News London's Nick Paparella and CTV News Windsor's Michelle Maluske 

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