“Justice has been served in the devastating case of Nathaniel Veltman who was found guilty on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. Veltman, 22, pleaded not guilty to the charges which stemmed from the June 2021 attack on a Muslim family. After deliberating for 11 weeks, a jury of 13 jurors reached a verdict which ultimately found Veltman guilty on all counts, leading to the removal of one juror as a verdict can only be decided by 12 people under the Criminal Code. The courtroom was filled with tension and anticipation as the jury announced their decision, a somber conclusion to a heart-wrenching case.
Statement from Mayor Josh Morgan
The Mayor of London, Josh Morgan, expressed that while this verdict is an important step towards closure for the Muslim community and the city as a whole, it does not signify the end of their journey. He emphasized the collective obligation of individuals and society to confront and combat hatred in all its forms, stressing that this verdict should serve as a perpetual reminder of the ongoing effort to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. Mayor Morgan called for continued support and care within the community, advocating for a steadfast dedication to eradicating Islamophobia, racism, and hate to honor the memory of the victims.
Summary of the Case
During the conclusion of the trial, the defence contended that the jury should consider manslaughter or second-degree murder, disputing the Crown’s ability to prove that Veltman planned and deliberated his attack. They also presented evidence from a forensic psychiatrist who believed that Veltman’s mental illnesses and the adverse effects of consuming psilocybin contributed to a “depersonalized” state. Conversely, the prosecution urged the jury to dismiss this evidence as it heavily relied on Veltman’s self-reporting of symptoms and lacked scientific validation. They portrayed Veltman as a calculated perpetrator who planned the attack over the course of several months, asserting that he purchased a vehicle and body armor, researched vehicle speed and injuries, and authored a hateful manifesto expressing his prejudiced beliefs about Muslims.
The verdict has sparked conversation, debate, and outrage across the country. While it represents justice for the victims and their families, the underlying issues of mental illness, religious discrimination, and hate require a collective effort in order to be addressed effectively as a society. As the court’s decision lingers in the minds of the public, it prompts us to reflect on the responsibilities we hold in fostering a society free from the burdens of hatred and violence.”