The Ontario Superior Court of Justice found a man guilty of murder on Wednesday for driving a van into a crowd in Toronto, killing 10 and injuring 16 people.
The court refused to name the man, calling him John Doe instead, because he committed the act of violence in order to achieve fame. Thus the judge remarked the following in its judgment, “It is my hope that his name would no longer be published by anyone else either. That is not an order I will make, it is merely a wish, perhaps a naïve one.”
On April 23, 2018, in a premeditated attack, John Doe picked up a van rented three weeks in advance and drove it down a sidewalk on Yonge Street, rolling over dozens of pedestrians. Doe’s defense was that his actions were made while “suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission or of knowing that it was wrong.” The court found that while Doe was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a valid disorder for asserting this defense, it did not so profoundly affect him as to render him incapable of understanding the gravity of his actions. The court cited Doe’s premeditation as well as his “above average” intelligence as evidence of his soundness of mind and ability to comprehend the consequences of his actions.
In addition to its attempt to remove Doe’s name from the public spotlight, the court listed each of the victims’ names and injuries in its judgment and recognized the “heroes” present that day, including first responders and police officers who responded to the attack.