In the proceedings, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, the Crown and defence lawyers will make sentencing submissions, including numerous victim impact statements.
Four members of the Afzaal family were killed and a little boy orphaned, when Nathaniel Veltman drove his truck “pedal to the metal” into the group out for an evening walk on June 6, 2021. Veltman told police hours later that he had decided he was “going to commit a terrorist attack” and “hoped to inspire more young men.”
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Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife, Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter, Yumna, and 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed in the attack, while the couple’s nine-year-old son was seriously hurt but survived.
Veltman, now 23, was found guilty last November following more than two months of proceedings in a historic trial that marked the first time Canada’s terrorism laws were put before a jury in a first-degree murder trial. However, the jury’s decision did not reveal whether they concluded that Veltman’s actions reached the threshold for first-degree murder due to terrorist activity, due to being planned and deliberate or both.
The question of terrorism may be answered during the sentencing portion of the trial, as the judge may make a decision about whether the murders constitute an act of terror as part of potential aggravating factors in the case.
Regardless, under the Criminal Code of Canada, a conviction of first-degree murder comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.
The sentencing proceedings will be held in London, where the attack occurred, while the trial was held in Windsor, Ont.
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