Forces stabbing suspect 'very scared,' lawyer says
The man accused of trying to kill three soldiers at a recruitment office Monday is terrified, his lawyer says.
“(Ayanle Hassan Ali) just seems very scared and very, very upset to be in the position he finds himself in,” lawyer David Burke, a member of well-known defence lawyer Calvin Barry’s firm, told reporters following his client’s first court appearance Tuesday.
Earlier, police Chief Mark Saunders told reporters the accused declared, “Allah told me to do this. Allah told me to come and kill people,” after he allegedly wounded two soldiers with a knife and tried to hurt a third at the Canadian Armed Forces recruitment office on Yonge St. in North York.
Ali is charged with three counts of attempted murder, three counts of assault with a weapon, two counts of aggravated assault, and a weapons offence.
Court documents identify the victims as Ryan Kong, Jesus Castillo and Tracy Ann Gerhardt.
Ali, 27, wearing a white jail jumpsuit, stood solemnly in court Tuesday with his head bowed and his hands handcuffed behind his back.
He identified himself in a soft voice barely above a whisper to justice of the peace William Danbrook.
He stared at the floor and never looked into the courtroom crowded with journalists.
“These charges are very serious. I’m not a doctor, so I am not going to speculate on (his mental condition),” Burke told reporters outside court. “That would not be appropriate.
Neither side asked for a psychiatric assessment during Tuesday’s hearing.
“Mr. Ali seems like an intelligent enough young man. It remains to be seen what kind of person we are dealing with,” Burke said.
He said it isn’t surprising police are treating the case as a possible terror attack, but he declined to discuss his client’s personal life. Ali has no prior convictions.
He was born in Montreal but moved to Toronto about five years ago, Burke said.
He was remanded into custody until Friday, when he might ask for bail.
“If we have very strong sureties in place and we have the best plan possible, then we’ll be seeking his release,” Burke said.
“It’s a very, very difficult situation he finds himself in.”