Naqvi Misleads Media
Over the past two weeks, Ottawa Life has twice called for Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi to open up about his role and responsibility in the release of Constable Daniel Montison, who was acquitted without appearing before a judge for a bail hearing after he was charged with manslaughter in the violent and brutal killing of Ottawa resident Abdirahman Abdi last summer (You can read previous articles here and here). Naqvi has sent a Letter to The Justice for Abdirahman(JFA) Coalition (“the Coalition”) in further efforts to evade questioning. In his letter to the Coalition yesterday, Naqvi states that:
“I would like to take this opportunity to personally respond and provide you with accurate information”.
With regards to the release of Montsion, Naqvi says: “In this particular case, the SIU laid criminal charges against Constable Daniel Montsion. When charges are laid, SIU investigators make initial release decisions, like deciding where to release the accused directly from custody, or bring them to court for a bail hearing.”
The problem is Naqvi's statement is both misleading and false.
In Ontario when serious charges like murder or manslaughter are laid it is the decision of the Crown Attorney and the Ministry of the Attorney General regarding what happens next. In murder and manslaughter cases, the accused appear before a judge for a bail hearing unless otherwise agreed to by the Crown Attorney. Naqvi was briefed on the case, as were officials in the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s office and all agreed to the release of Montsion without an appearance before a judge. The Crown has not disclosed why they agreed to this special treatment for Constable Montsion. As Attorney General, Naqvi’s duty is to act in the public interest and to ensure the law is being followed.
Naqvi’s letter appears to be an attempt to deflect away from the issue at hand, which is why did he agree to the special treatment for Constable Montsion and why did he not intervene as Attorney General when he learned that the police were releasing a fellow police officer (Montsion) after he was charged with manslaughter, without appearing first before a bail judge. In his letter to the Coalition Naqvi says:
“I was not personally involved in any aspect of the SIU investigation in this case.”
The problem is that no one in the media or the Coalition has ever suggested he was or made that claim. The question Ottawa Life Magazine and other media are asking that Naqvi will not answer is why did he go along with the release without a bail hearing after the charges were laid.
Carleton Criminology and Criminal Justice Professor Darryl Davies Professor, who is an expert in police and criminal procedures, told Ottawa Life Magazine that there are serious problems with Naqvi’s letter to the Coalition and his actions in this matter. The first is that “as the Attorney General of Ontario, Mr. Naqvi is responsible for ensuring that all citizens are treated equally under the law when they are charged with criminal code offenses. Not only did he not do this, he went along with the special treatment for Constable Montsion when he learned of it, and did nothing as Attorney General but let it happen. This goes to his competency and judgment”.
Secondly, “Naqvi is also the MPP for Ottawa Centre and Mr. Abdirahman was his constituent. By his actions and inaction, Mr. Naqvi has forfeited the trust of his constituents in Ottawa Centre by failing to take direct action to ensure this officer would appear in court like any other citizen facing the same charge”.