Three men accused of in the death of 17-year-old Jarryl Hagley have been found guilty of first-degree murder.
Hagley was shot dead at a Pizza Pizza on Weston Road on Oct. 16, 2016.
Mohamed Ali Nur, now 21, along with 25-year-old twin brothers Shakiyl Shaw and Lenneil Shaw, were found guilty in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday morning. The charge carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. A jury deliberated for just over a day before returning with a verdict.
It was in the early hours of the morning when the men burst into the restaurant and opened fire on Hagley and his friends who were dining inside.
Hagley was shot multiple times but was able to make his way to a washroom, where he collapsed. He suffered “catastrophic injuries,” the Crown said, and died there.
Police previously described the shooting as “planned and deliberate,” but a motive for the attack remains unknown.
Hagley’s mother, Delma, said she’s haunted by the question of “why?”
“Why God, why did you take him away from us? Why did you take such a precious child,” she said outside the courtroom after the judge gave his verdict.
“They didn’t just kill my son, they killed an entire family.”
The men escaped the scene in an SUV, which was later identified through video surveillance taken from different locations in the neighbourhood.
The jury viewed security video that showed three people entering the restaurant and then running from the area a short time later, some of them holding firearms.
Initially, four suspects were charged in the teen’s murder. The charge against the fourth suspect, identified as Winston Poyser, was later resolved and he served time for being an accessory. Poyser became the Crown’s key witness in the case.
He testified in court that a still photo taken from the security camera footage showed the three men there with him that night. He was also visible in the video.
During the trial, defence lawyers tried to discount Poyser’s credibility and suggested the 24-year-old was only acting on a good deal offered by police.
Sharon Shaw, the mother of Shakiyl and Lenneil, accused Poyser of lying during his testimony. She said police found no evidence — “no fingerprints, no clothes, no bullets, no shells” — when they searched the family home.
Shaw insists that the twins are innocent. She said she doesn’t believe that the men in the video, as identified by Poyser in court, are her sons.
“No it’s not,” she said through tears, pausing briefly to sob.
“Every mother knows her child. Every mother knows her child no matter what.”
She asserted that the “real killer” is still out there and said that the family intends on filing an appeal.
“I love my boys… I love them so much. I believe them when they said they are innocent,” she said.
“The jury was not allowed to hear where they found the gun… The unfairness of this justice system.”
Lead investigator Det. Jason Shankaran acknowledged that neither of the guns were found at the Shaw residence, but said the case did not rest on Poyser’s testimony alone.
“I’ve seen many witnesses testify and no witness is perfect, but I believe Winston Poyser was telling the truth,” he said outside the courthouse.
“It wasn’t just a single witness coming forward and pointing the finger, but a case where multiple points were also introduced by the Crown, I think, to an effective purpose.”
Shankaran said he believes the jury made the right decision. He went on to commend the Hagley family for their strength during the three-year investigation and subsequent six-week trial.
“There’s a certain degree of poise and appreciation amongst the entire Hagley family, but Delma in particular,” he said.
“The apple never falls far from the tree and certainly Jerryl had the qualities of his mom. Considering all that, I think today is a very good day for Delma and a good day for the Toronto police homicide squad.”
Delma, however, doesn’t see it quite that way.
Instead of relishing in what could be seen as a victory, she recognized the pain of another grieving mother, Sharon Shaw.
“I still look at it as a mother seeing three young men going to sit behind bars for such a long time. Nothing you do can bring my son back to life, but at the end of the day, they’re still sitting behind bars and their life is somewhat going to waste,” she said.
“It’s not something to rejoice over. I just pray that God will touch their hearts and touch the hearts of their mom, touch the hearts of their siblings and bring this new rejuvenation into their lives.”
Via Lawyer Family
LONDON — The Latest on Britain’s departure from the European Union (all times local):
The British government has delayed plans to hold a vote on its key Brexit bill, as Prime Minister Theresa May faces remorseless pressure from her Conservative Party to step down.
May previously said she planned to publish the withdrawal bill Friday and hold a vote in Parliament the week of June 3. The bill implements the terms of Britain’s departure from the European Union and May says it is the “last chance” to secure an orderly U.K. exit.
But there is no mention of the bill in the schedule of parliamentary business for that week, published Thursday. And Conservative lawmaker Mark Spencer told the House of Commons the bill will not be published this week.
Commons leader Andrea Leadsom, who had been due to introduce the bill, quit Wednesday, saying she could not support it.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is hunkered down with close allies as she considers whether to give in to relentless pressure to resign, or fight on to save her Brexit plan and her premiership.
May’s fate looked sealed on Thursday after the resignation of Cabinet minister Andrea Leadsom, who quit saying she could not support the EU withdrawal bill that May plans to introduce to Parliament.
Conservative lawmakers want May to agree Friday that she will quit. If not, they are likely to try to topple her.
Lawmakers have already rejected May’s divorce deal with EU three times, and Britain’s long-scheduled departure date of March 29 passed with the country still in the bloc.
Many Conservatives blame May for the delay, and believe she is now an obstacle to Brexit.
The Associated Press
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Three-quarters of Ontarians are opposed to the province’s cuts to Legal Aid Ontario, a new poll found.
Among those who voted for Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives last year, 44 per cent said they oppose the cuts, according to Environics Research, which surveyed 1,332 people by phone last week.
The poll was commissioned by the Society of United Professionals, a union representing 350 legal aid lawyers across Ontario. It comes after the province announced it was cutting Legal Aid Ontario’s budget by 30 per cent ($133 million), and will further reduce annual funding by $31 million by 2021-2022.
Legal Aid Ontario provides legal support and representation for residents with little to no income, at family and criminal court, and to refugee claimants, among other services.
The province said in its recent budget that it’s “streamlining the delivery of legal aid to promote long-term sustainability.”
But the cuts are influencing Ford’s popularity, according to the poll. Fifty-five per cent of Ontarians are strongly opposed to cutting legal aid’s budget, and 62 per cent said the issue makes them less likely to vote PC in the future. Twenty-eight per cent of people who voted PC in 2018 are also less likely to support Ford’s government, while 40 per cent said it makes no difference.
“Premier Ford and Attorney General (Caroline) Mulroney have tried to deflect from their catastrophic legal aid cuts by claiming that they are protecting what matters to Ontarians,” said Dana Fisher, a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers’ Local in a statement to HuffPost.
“These poll results show that, in fact, legal aid matters to Ontarians. The Society of United Professionals is calling on the Premier and Attorney General to reverse these cruel cuts immediately.”
The poll also found that 75 per cent of Ontarians believe Ford’s government is on the wrong track, including 37 per cent of PC voters.
Six in 10 Ontarians were aware of the funding cuts to legal aid, the poll found, with 33 per cent “very aware” and 26 per cent “somewhat aware.”
These results follow another set of polling data Environics released Tuesday that found the province’s decision to combine 35 public health units into 10 and cut their budgets by $200 million is unpopular. Eighty-three per cent oppose the cuts, including 56 per cent of Tory voters.
The poll’s margin of error is 2.7 percentage points 19 times out of 20.
Also on HuffPost
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The year was 1939. Germany had launched an attack against Poland; two days later, France and Britain declared war on Germany, spurring the start of the Second World War.
Thousands of miles away in Cumberland, B.C., then-teenager Gordon Quan dreamed of joining the Canadian Army. But, there was just one problem: he is Chinese-Canadian.
Up until 1944, those of Chinese ancestry were not allowed to serve in the military. Even folks like Quan, who were born in Canada, were often rejected by local recruitment officers because of their race or ethnic background.
At the time, Chinese-Canadians and Chinese immigrants were considered lower-class citizens, who were not allowed to vote and were subject to a head tax, which had started at $50 in 1885 and by 1903, it had jumped to $500 per person.
The head tax was created to discourage Chinese people from entering Canada, even after many had been brought over by the Canadian government to help build the railroad. Chinese immigrants were also restricted from practising in professions such as law and medicine.
After the Second World War broke out, and once war against Japan was declared, Canada and China became allies against the perceived enemy, uniting the two countries, helping to change perceptions of Chinese-Canadians. And so, in 1944, the National Resources Mobilization Act reversed the policy of barring Chinese recruits to the Canadian military.
At the same time, British Forces sought recruits outside of Europe to infiltrate Japanese-held territories in southeast Asia. Quan, who had recently headed to train with the Canadian Forces in Saskatchewan, was transferred to the British Army for special service in the Southeast Asia Command.
“Everyone around here wanted to join the forces but they would not allow that until 1944. So when that happened, a group of us said, ‘Let’s go and join up,’” 93-year-old Quan told HuffPost Canada from his retirement home in Victoria. “We were then told to volunteer to serve in Southeast Asia because they said we were more adapted to that region than Europeans. So, 150 of us Chinese people all signed up.”
Quan was recruited to Force 136, a secret service branch. Almost all of these Chinese-Canadian recruits were from British Columbia, descendants of those were brought over to help build the railroad. Quan was sent to India to join other Chinese-Canadians serving in the Burma campaign to fight against the Japanese.
“When I was in the jungle, I was assigned to special Force 136 and took intensive training in demolition work. I became a demolition expert,” said Quan. ”And then I was shipped into the jungle to Malaya area. A bunch of troops, maybe 15 of us were there, some of us, we’re jumping behind lines, some of us were going to another area. I always carry a couple grenades, carry a pistol.”
“I got to do the job as demolition expert, go in there, blow it up. We have to size that area, where the enemies are, make sure that timing is more important, how to get in and how to get out,” said Quan, noting that since they were stationed in the jungle, they didn’t know that the war ended after the Americans dropped the bomb on Japan, ending the mission.
Many of the Chinese-Canadians who volunteered to serve did so with the hopes that their efforts would translate into fostering a better perception of the Chinese in Canada. However, the government still had not granted Chinese-Canadians the right to vote when they returned home from the war, so soldiers from Special Forces 136 banded together to fight for that right, said Quan.
Watch “Force 136: Chinese Canadian Heroes.” Story continues below.
“At that time, we were always British subjects. We had no rights to go into the profession of our choice, it was only restaurants and laundry for the Chinese people. When we come back, the regiment group went to Ottawa to fight for the right to be Canadian.”
Even before the Second World War had begun, Chinese-Canadians had launched protests and petitions requesting the right for Chinese-Canadians to vote.
After the war, Chinese-Canadian vets led “a coalition of churches, unions, civic groups and veterans’ associations into pressuring the government to end the exclusion of Chinese-Canadians” from voting, according to “Beyond Being Other: Chinese Canadians National History,” a journal written by Lisa Rose Mar.
And their efforts did serve them as much as it served other countries. The racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923, which banned most forms of immigration to Canada for 24 years, was finally repealed in 1947. That same year, for the first time, Chinese-Canadians were allowed to become Canadian citizens and were granted the right to vote in federal elections.
These changes also meant Chinese-Canadians could also now be recognized as doctors, lawyers and engineers.
Quan, who spent 30 years in the reserves stationed in Canada, went on to marry after the war and have five children, who gave him five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. And after a long life well-lived, he wouldn’t change a thing.
“When I was in the army, no discrimation I face. I was the first Chinese person who worked for the city of Victoria,” said Quan. “If I wasn’t a veteran, I’d never get that job back then.”
“Today, I speak at schools and tell young people to join the army. You get your education paid for, you learn many things and now, today, because of what we went through, the Chinese have the right to enjoy life in Canada.
“To be Canadian citizens, to be equal now.”
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