Evidence portion in trial of man accused of running over Toronto cop concludes Friday

The defence has called its final witness in the trial of the man accused of killing a Toronto police officer. Erica Natividad with more on the police officer’s testimony and what's next in the trial.

By Erica Natividad, Patricia D'Cunha and The Canadian Press

The evidence portion in the trial of a man accused of running over a Toronto police officer nearly three years ago wrapped up Friday, with the defence calling its final witness to the stand.

Uma Zameer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup.

The officer died after he was hit by a vehicle in a parking garage underneath Toronto City Hall on July 2, 2021.

Const. Ryan D’Souza, who was a member of the Major Crimes Unit at 52 Division the night of the incident, was on the stand Friday.

The officer said he and his partner were responding to a call about a stabbing near Nathan Phillips Square when he received an emergency call over radio from Const. Scharnil Pais, one of the officers who arrested Zameer.

D’Souza testified when he arrived at the parking garage, he saw significant damage to the unmarked police van and noticed two severely damaged parking arms. He also said he saw a handcuffed male in a kneeling position with a glazed look on his face. He said he read Zameer his caution after Pais read the accused his rights to counsel.

D’Souza said he asked Zameer what happened and the accused explained to him what transpired in the underground garage, saying he didn’t know Const. Northrup and his partner were police officers and didn’t see any badges on them.

Under cross-examination by the Crown, D’Souza said Zameer didn’t seem impaired.

Closing statements in the trial are expected to be delivered on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Zameer offered a tearful apology to the man’s family in court, saying he didn’t mean to hurt the officer and wished he could bring him back.

“I just wish it didn’t happen,” he said, adding that as a father of three, he understands the father-son bond and can’t imagine the grief felt by Const. Northrup’s children.

“I’m so, so, so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your dad,” he said. “I just wish I could bring him back.”

While on the stand, Zameer recounted the events that led up to Const. Northrups’s death.

Zameer testified he thought his family was about to be robbed at the time. He described getting into the family’s BMW and seeing an unknown man and a woman rush towards the car and start banging on the vehicle.

Zameer said he did not see the officer as he tried to drive out of the underground parking space. He maintained he only felt he had run over a speed bump and not a person, until he was told what happened by the arresting officers.

The court has previously heard that Const. Northrup and his partner — both dressed in plain clothes — were investigating a stabbing when they went into the underground garage. Zameer was not involved in the stabbing.

Crown prosecutors allege Zameer chose to make a series of manoeuvres with his car that caused Const. Northrup’s death, but the defence says the officer’s death was a tragic accident.

Defence lawyers say neither Zameer nor his wife — who was eight months pregnant at the time — knew that the people who approached them in the largely empty parking garage were police officers. Their two-year-old son was also with them at the time.

With files from 680 News Radio Toronto

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