A jury took only four hours to convict Brian Dickson of first-degree murder in the “tragic death” of York University student Qian “Necole” Liu.
The jury found that the 32-year-old Dickson killed Liu by either strangling her or applying a chokehold after she spurned his sexual advances shortly after 1 a.m. on April 15, 2011.
The conviction carries an automatic life sentence with no parole for 25 years.
Dickson blinked several times as the verdict was read.
The killing was partially witnessed by Liu’s ex-boyfriend, Xian Chao Meng, who was video-chatting with her using “Tom Skype” and texting simultaneously when Dickson knocked on her door, ending their conversation.
Meng, who was living in Beijing at the time, testified that he saw Liu open the door and briefly converse with Dickson. He then shoved his way into the apartment and attempted to embrace her, he said.
Liu resisted, pushing at his chest and said “no” in both English and Mandarin, said Meng.
After two muffled bangs, he never heard another sound from the 23-year-old.
Meng saw a naked Dickson close the computer. Meng frantically sent messages to Liu’s friends to summon help. Dickson stole his victim’s computer and cellphone.
Dickson should be convicted of first-degree murder since he deliberately killed Liu after sexually assaulting her, argued Crown attorney Christine Pirraglia.
Liu’s heart-broken parents, father Jian Hui Liu and mother, Ya Ru Zheng, clutching a large portrait of Necole, thanked Canadians for their support and the police and prosecution for “their professionalism and excellent work.
“We believe the Canadian judicial system is very good and very fair. This is not simply a crime against my daughter, but also against the whole society,” said her father, speaking through a Mandarin interpreter.
“In Chinese culture, April 5 is the day we remember the people who have passed away and at this time, I have good news for my daughter,” said Liu.
“It was a very tough case, a very, very tragic case that hung on the mechanism of death,” said defense lawyer Robert Nuttall, who urged the jury to convict Dickson of manslaughter because “the precise mechanism of death is uncertain.
“It’s too early to think about appealing. Mr. Dickson was prepared for the verdict. He has been absolutely remorseful for a very long period of time.”
Webcam killer guilty of first-degree murder
Gunfire erupts in downtown Toronto, man killed
Police have identified the victim of a deadly overnight shooting.
Shmar Parris, 25, of Toronto, was in the driver's seat of a Chevrolet Malibu when gunshots rang out near Mutual and Gerrard Sts. around 2:20 a.m., Toronto Police said.
Following the gunfire, a Chervolet Malibu was chased by a light-colored SUV, Const. Victor Kwong said.
Parris was found suffering from "multiple" gunshot wounds about 10 minutes later inside the bullet-riddled Malibu that crashed into a hydro pole a few blocks away at Parliament and Carlton Sts., Kwong said. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead.
A woman, a passenger in the Malibu, was also shot.
"She suffered non-life threatening injuries and was able to make her own way to hospital where she is currently being treated for a gunshot wound," Kwong said.
The SUV drove away "erratically" heading south on Parliament, Kwong said. The vehicle was last seen travelling west along the Gardiner Expresway.
Police have closed off the intersections at both scenes for the investigation.
Woman arrested after 2 other women stabbed in north Toronto
Toronto police have one woman in custody after two other women were stabbed in north Toronto on Friday morning.
Emergency crews were called to an apartment building on Tobermory Drive, near Finch Avenue and Jane Street, around 1:30 a.m.
Police say a fight broke out in an apartment where a large number of people were gathered.
Two women, one of whom had serious injuries, were taken to hospital.
The suspect was also was taken to hospital to be examined.
Charges are pending, police said.
No names have been released.
Child porn investigation leads to 2 Toronto arrests
Toronto police have made two arrests in what they say is a joint, ongoing investigation into the production and distribution of child pornography.
The sex crimes unit and 51 Division on Wednesday arrested Matthew Wilson, 31, of Toronto and Sadia Waezzadah, 28, of Markham, Ont., following the execution of a search warrant in the area of Wellesley Street East and Sherbourne Street.
Investigators allege the pair were in a sexual relationship a child under the age of 16 and, "communicated online about the sexual abuse of children."
Wilson is further alleged to have distributed child pornography online. He faces 19 charges including two counts of sexual assault, two counts of sexual interference and four counts of distributing child pornography. He is due to appear in court on March 10.
Waezzadah faces charges of sexual assault, sexual interference and possession of child pornography. She is scheduled to appear in court on March 7.
Two children are involved in the case, but police believe there may be other victims.
"I believe it's quite possible there could be more victims," who were connected with Wilson, Det. Const. Janelle Blackadar said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (416) 808-8500 or Crime Stoppers at (416) 222-TIPS or www.222tips.com.
Four teens charged in connection with 7 GTA bank robberies
Four 17-year-old youths are
facing robbery charges in
connection with a series of
bank hold-ups in Toronto and
two communities east of the
Police say seven bank robberies took place between Jan. 3 and Feb. 26 -- four in Toronto's east end and three in Pickering and Courtice.
It's alleged that during the robberies, one-to-three suspects entered the banks with their faces masked and armed with guns, while another remained in the getaway vehicle.
Police say two robberies happened on Wednesday -- one in east-end Toronto (in the Ellesmere Road and McCowan Road area) and the other in Courtice, just east of Oshawa.
During the Toronto robbery, police say several victims were assaulted and one of them required seven staples for a head wound.
Shortly after the second robbery, police say four youths were arrested and two replica handguns were seized along with cocaine, marijuana and money stolen during the robberies.
Man who led after-school program faces child porn charges
A Toronto man who worked
as an after-school
program leader and
summer camp director is
facing six child
Police say a man was arrested after officers executed a search warrant at a home in north Toronto in the Highway 401 and Don Mills Road area.
A second search warrant was executed at a business address in the Mount Pleasant Road and Davisville Avenue area.
It is alleged that a man who provided computer services to a community services agency in the city posted child-abuse images on social networking and image-hosting sites.
Police say the man also worked as an after-school program leader at Thorncliffe Park Public School and Gateway Public School from September 2008 to June 2013 and as a director at several summer camps in the Greater Toronto Area.
Chun Him (Louis) Wong, 25, is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography, two counts of accessing child pornography and two counts of making child pornography available.
Arrest made in child
Toronto police have made an arrest in a child pornography investigation and officers believe there may be more victims.
Police allege the accused both owned and accessed child sexual-abuse images, and made those images available to others.
He also allegedly went online and made arrangements to sexually abuse a child
Philip Cuttiford, 49, of Toronto, was arrested on Feb. 6. He has been charged with possession of child pornography, accessing child pornography, make available child pornography, and make arrangement to commit sexual assault.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 416-808-8500, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637).
Suspect sought in subway sex
Toronto police are searching for the suspect after a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted on the subway.
Police say a 22-year-old woman was on the Sheppard line near Bayview Avenue around 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.
The suspect approached her and sexually assaulted her, police say. According to police, he then showed her a weapon.
The suspect is brown, approximately 30 years old, five-feet-seven-inches tall, with short black curly hair. He was wearing a black coat and black pants. The male has a distinguished discoloration on both his hands.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
Man dead in Etobicoke
One person is dead following a shooting near Sherway Gardens.
Paramedics were called to the scene at Hargrove Lane and Bisset Avenue in Etobicoke around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
A man was found dead in a car.
Toronto police have not released the victim’s name or age and there has been no word on suspects.
Police continue to investigate.
Cab drivers charged for not
taking clubgoers home
Toronto cabbies are being chastised for refusing to take clubgoers home on the weekend.
A group of undercover female police officers posing as clubgoers found that a number of taxi drivers refused to provide them with service when they asked to be taken just a few blocks from the city's Entertainment district.
"The officers had not consumed alcohol and were not acting drunk," said Det. Const. Mark Tracey with 52 Division.
"They asked to be taken about seven blocks away and they were refused service," he said in an interview with CTV.ca.
Police laid 21 charges against taxi drivers on the weekend for refusing the first fare. The crackdown was part of a two-day blitz dubbed "Project Take Me Home" aimed at identifying and charging cab drivers who violate municipal bylaws.
Authorities say it's becoming a popular practice for cabbies to refuse service to people who want to be driven a short distance. Some drivers have been asking for an "unreasonable amount" up front, police say.
According to the city, cab drivers must serve the first person who requests their service, no matter how short the travel distance may be. Refusing the first customer is a violation of a municipal bylaw.
The bylaw states the only time a driver can refuse a customer is if:
• The passenger owes the driver money from a previous fare
• The passenger refuses to disclose their final destination
• The passenger asks to be driven to a remote place that the driver considers unsafe
• The passenger is unduly obnoxious or abusive
Cab drivers must record the reasons why a passenger has been denied service.
However, Tracey said the police crackdown over the weekend found a number of cabbies are violating the bylaws.
The practice is putting people's lives at risk, according to a news release put out by 52 Division, the police station responsible for patrolling the city's Entertainment District.
"Abandoning these young people on the streets, and leaving them on the roadside, creates a unique public safety issue," the release says.
"Assaults and disorderly conduct between people trying to hail taxi cabs has become commonplace," it continues. "Patrons often put themselves in harm's way, while making desperate efforts to hail cabs from the middle of the street."
Police say the majority of the charges were laid after the clubs let out for the evening, between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. They also said this is the hour where most violent crimes against people take place.
Tracey said making sure people get home right away is part of the police safety plan for the area.
One cab driver told CTV Toronto that cabbies are selective with fares because they don't want to lose out on the rides that will yield them more money.
Former hockey referee, 75,
guilty of molesting boys
A former minor league hockey referee befriended two young brothers decades ago and then molested them and two of their friends, an Ontario Superior Court judge ruled Thursday.
Justice Mary Lou Benotto found Michael Dimmick, now 75, guilty of 12 counts of indecent assault and two of buggery.
“He was a trusted family friend and was able to use this position to fondle the boys,” Benotto told the court.
She concluded that there had been inconsistencies in what Dimmick had told the court, including when he became involved with the family, through hockey and a friendship with the boys’ parents.
“He very quickly became like a member of the family,” she said, adding he would drive the children places and went to a cottage with them.
Benotto said she believes the involvement began in the late 1960s, when the oldest brother was 6 or 7. Years later, his attention turned to the younger brother, she said.
She found that Dimmick fondled the boys and engaged in oral and anal sex.
The victims, now in their 40s and 50s, cannot be named because of a publication ban.
Outside of court, Dimmick’s lawyer Richard Allman said he disagreed with judge’s ruling and needed to thoroughly read the lengthy decision before commenting further.
Crown prosecutor Kelly Simpson said she would be asking for a “significant” sentence of at least five years in a penitentiary.
“It shows that even if something happened a very long time ago, it doesn’t mean it’s less worthy of belief,” Simpson said.
Two of the victims were in court and visibly emotional when the judge gave her decision.
Dimmick returns to court July 8.