Decision expected today in Toronto cop’s appeal of attempted murder conviction

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TORONTO — A decision is expected today in the appeal of a Toronto police officer who was convicted of attempted murder in the shooting death of a troubled teen.

In July 2013, Const. James Forcillo fired two separate volleys at Sammy Yatim, an 18-year-old who had consumed ecstasy and was wielding a small knife on an empty streetcar.

Court heard the first round of shots was the one that killed him.

Yatim’s killing set off a wave of public outrage and protests after a video of the shooting went viral.

Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder related to the second volley, but was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree murder.

He was sentenced to six years behind bars, a year more than the mandatory minimum.

Forcillo has asked the appeal court to substitute a not-guilty verdict or order a new trial due to evidence the judge excluded from trial.

The defence has argued Superior Court Justice Edward Then was wrong to exclude cellphone and expert evidence about the possibility of “suicide by cop.”

They say the judge should have declared a mistrial because excluding that evidence prevented the defence from countering the narrative put forward by prosecutors, which painted Yatim as a young man in crisis.

Court documents show Forcillo’s lawyers had intended to argue the crisis was such that it could not be de-escalated.

The Canadian Press