A different city will host the trial of a man accused of killing four members of a Muslim family in London, Ontario while acting in support of terrorism. Renee Pomerance, a Superior Court judge, decided on Monday that Nathaniel Veltman’s lawsuit requires a change of venue. Due to a publication ban, the decision’s justifications as well as the arguments and supporting evidence used in court cannot be made public. The new location has not yet been chosen, but the process, which is expected to last 12 weeks, will start on September 5, 2023. Veltman, who was 20 at the time of his arrest, is charged with intentionally hitting the family on June 6, 2021, when they were walking.
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumnah and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed. The couple’s nine-year-old son was seriously hurt.
Veltman faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in what prosecutors allege was an act of terrorism. His case will be heading straight to trial without a preliminary inquiry.
The deaths of the Afzaal family sparked calls for action to combat Islamophobia and sent shock, grief, and fear rippling across the nation.
Residents of London and members of the neighbourhood Muslim community met last month to pay tribute to the family a year after the assault. The focal point of a permanent memorial at the attack site, at the intersection of Hyde Park Road and South Carriage Road, currently includes a mural with a painting by Yumnah Afzaal. The Afzaal family has also been given a garden in the City of London.
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