Defence lawyers for Const. Daniel Montsion complained they are still “learning as we go,” as issues surrounding contentious video evidence resurfaced Tuesday, bringing the officer’s manslaughter and assault trial to an unexpected halt for a second time.Justice Robert Kelly had already granted a two-week adjournment to deal with issues surrounding the video, a two-minute “slowed-down” excerpt taken from CCTV footage of the July 24, 2016 fatal arrest of Abdirahman Abdi, which was only disclosed to Montsion’s defence team on the eve of trial.The judge halted the day’s proceedings early Tuesday after defence lawyers Michael Edelson and Solomon Friedman objected to the Crown’s line of questioning with its first witness, Special Investigations Unit investigator David Robinson, on the origin of the contentious video.The defence alleges the video excerpt was shown to a leading forensic pathologist, who then changed his mind from ruling Abdi’s death an accident to ruling it a homicide.
Abdirahman Abdi is shown in a family handout photo.
Family of Abdirahman Abdi /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Montsion has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.Robinson testified he arrived at the Hilda Street scene around 3:45 p.m. that day, several hours after the arrest, to collect evidence and document the scene by shooting video and still photos of the crime scene evidence.A fellow SIU investigator handed Robinson a thumb drive containing surveillance footage taken from a CCTV camera in the apartment building doorway, which, according to the Crown, captures the entire “arrest gone bad.”Neither the original CCTV video nor the excerpt have been shown in court.Court was shown two other video clips Tuesday, which Robinson testified he collected from the cellphone of witness David Thyne, who captured the immediate aftermath of the arrest from his apartment across the street.In the shaky cellphone footage, Thyne can be seen descending the stairs from his apartment stoop on Anderson Street, then walking south along Hilda Street, filming all the way as he approaches the scene, where people can be seen leaning over the balconies looking at the scene below. Two police cruisers parked on Hilda Street are soon joined by at least six others. A dispatcher is heard giving the address “55 Hilda” as a woman is heard wailing in the background.Later that evening, Robinson explained, he was having “difficulties” making a DVD copy of the video with his laptop, and the investigator decided instead to use software to make a “screen capture” version of the video.Edelson called it an issue “of critical importance” when the prosecution’s line of questioning took a sharp turn from discussing cellphone videos to addressing the contentious Hilda Street CCTV video.Robinson said he first attempted to convert the video file shortly after the arrest, and made several other attempts before moving on to other evidence.He told court he then “forgot about it” until earlier this year when he realized the two-minute excerpt was not among the Crown’s materials, and therefore had not been disclosed to the defence.Robinson sent prosecutors an email on Sunday, Feb. 3, about 18 hours before the trial was set to begin, which read: “Gents, please see attached file … converted version created Aug. 4, 2016.”The trial will resume Wednesday after Kelly asked both parties to return with an agreed statement of facts concerning the video.Ahelmer@postmedia.comTwitter: @helmera ALSO IN THE NEWS:Explainer: Ontario health-care reformOntario sets stage for health-care transformationWoman starts her week at casino, and it pays off