Loading articles...

Toronto police officer in Yatim case facing new charge of attempted murder

Last Updated Jan 21, 2016 at 2:12 pm EST

Toronto police const. James Forcillo is facing an additional charge of attempted murder in the shooting death of Sammy Yatim.

Forcillo, 31, already faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of Yatim, who was 18 when he died after being shot eight times on an empty streetcar July 27, 2013.

Now the Crown has filed a new indictment and Forcillo has also been charged with attempted murder “by shooting (Yatim) with a firearm and thereby wounding him.”

The reasons for the additional charge may be related to evidence from the preliminary inquiry, which is covered by a publication ban.

The Special Investigations Unit recommended Forcillo be charged with second-degree murder last August.

Peter Brauti, one of Forcillo’s lawyers, said the new charge appears to be “a fallback position based on the theory that officer Forcillo was justified in firing some but not all of the shots taken.”

“It is going to require some very fine lines to be drawn,” he told CityNews in a statement.

The incident was captured on surveillance and cellphone video on which nine shots can be heard following shouted commands to drop a knife.

Another of Forcillo’s lawyers, Lawrence Gridin, appeared in court Wednesday on Forcillo’s behalf and set Sept. 22 as a date for a judicial pre-trial, which is a closed case conference between lawyers and the judge.

Gridin said he is hoping to set a trial date for as soon as possible, but it likely won’t take place until the fall of 2015 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, Police Association President, Mike McCormack said he was “shocked” by the new charge and said it appears the “Crown has lost confidence in their case and that they are scrambling.”

When asked how Forcillo is taking the news, McCormack said: “He’s upset, he’s confused.”

The charge has even confused the likes of lawyer and former head of the Special Investigations Unit, Howard Morton.

“I’ve never heard of it before anywhere in Canada,” he said.