Basing a verdict purely on happenstance – the Forcillo case

“Whether it was the first or the second volley that killed Yatim, or if either volley would have killed him, what possible difference could there be to the degree of Forcillo’s guilt in the sense of what he did?”

The following letter appeared in Canada Free Press within a few hours of having been sent in, and on the same day. There is no doubt in my mind that there will be a very ugly public reaction to what transpired in court, and both the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star have posted editorials already in their on-line versions, as has the Globe & Mail. Many columnists have weighed in on all Toronto and national newspaper on-line editions.

Here is the CFP letter:

“To base a decision purely on the basis of the second volley of shots not having killed Yatim, is to base a verdict purely on happenstance”.

The Forcillo-Yatim jury verdict

The jury’s decision that Const. Forcillo is not guilty of 2nd-degree murder, but guilty of “attempted” murder in the Sammy Yatim case, will seem bizarre to many. The fatal (first) shots were considered by the jury to be justified due to Yatims’ actions, but the final (not fatal) shots were considered unnecessary and so result in the attempted murder verdict.

This is obviously yet another one of those cases where what is legally right and what is morally right have a nasty and noisy head-on collision.

Here’s how I see it: For Constable Forcillo to be found guilty of “attempted” murder when the victim is in fact dead, and particularly when we consider that after Yatim collapsed from the first shots, Forcillo resumed shooting at him again after a pause of several seconds, is both illogical and disturbing. To my mind, that was an execution, plain and simple. To base a decision purely on the basis of the second volley of shots not having killed Yatim, is to base a verdict purely on happenstance. If the first volley had not killed Yatim, but the second one did, would the jury have found Forcillo guilty of murder rather than attempted murder? Remember, the jury considered the first volley to be justified…

Whether it was the first or the second volley that killed Yatim, or if either volley would have killed him, what possible difference could there be to the degree of Forcillo’s guilt in the sense of what he did? The pause of several seconds between the first and second volleys indicate a deliberate attempt to ensure that Yatim died, and in my opinion, that alone should convict Forcillo of murder.

There was certainly no difference in the outcome to Sammy Yatim…

Jeff Goodall,

You can see the letter here.

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