Following a brief appearance on Wednesday, the accused in June’s targeted vehicle attack in London, Ont., is now set to return to court on Dec. 15 for a judicial pre-trial.
The fatal attack on a local Muslim family marked the deadliest mass murder in London’s history.
Five members of the Afzaal-Salman were out for an evening walk in the city’s Hyde Park neighbourhood when they were struck by a pickup truck.
Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna and her 74-year-old grandmother, Talat Afzaal, were killed in the attack. The couple’s nine-year-old son, Fayez, was left seriously injured, but survived.
Local police have labelled the attack a hate crime and say the family was targeted because of their religion.
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Nathaniel Veltman, 20, of London, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Crown prosecutors allege each offence constituted an act of terrorism.
On Wednesday, Veltman made a virtual court appearance from the confines of the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre, a prison in London’s south end.
While his past court appearances had resulted in adjournments to allow for his lawyer, Christopher Hicks, to receive and review disclosure regarding the case, Wednesday’s appearance saw an articling student appearing on behalf of Hicks ask to schedule a judicial pre-trial.
“I can advise that a Crown pre-trial was conducted (Tuesday) morning and the matter requires a judicial pre-trial, so I’m going to suggest that the matter return in mid-December for the purpose of scheduling and holding the judicial pre-trial,” said the student.
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Tanit Gilliam, counsel for the federal Crown, said a judicial pre-trial could be set up “relatively quickly,” but added that Hicks is involved in a separate murder trial that doesn’t conclude until Dec. 3.
The court ruled to have Veltman return to court Dec. 15 to have a judicial pre-trial by video.
He remains in custody at the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre in the meantime.
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