Apr 22, 2024

By Jane Brown

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It is a case that has gripped our attention here in Toronto.

In the end, Umar Zameer has been acquitted of all charges, including first and second degree murder and manslaughter.

The jury also concluded Sunday that Toronto Police Detective Constable Jeffrey Northrup’s death in the parking garage below Nathan Phillips Square early on July 2nd, 2021 was a tragic accident and not a criminal act.

The 34 year old accountant broke down after the verdict was read in a University Avenue courtroom, embraced his wife, and then offering a statement of gratitude to his lawyers and Canada outside.

“I though, I and Aaida (his wife) made a wrong decision when we thought we should go to Canada. It’s a better place for our kids. But I think today I see that Canada didn’t let injustice to happen, and so I thank Canada,” Zameer said outside the University Avenue Courthouse.

He also spoke to the tragedy of Constable Northrup’s death.

“I never meant any of this to happen. I am sorry for what happened, but I never meant any of this to happen to this day,” Zameer lamented.

Unusually, Superior Court Justice Anne Malloy offered an apology to Umar Zameer for what he has been through, and during which he had always maintained that he thought his family was being attacked when plainclothes officers approached his car while investigating an unrelated stabbing. It was during the following moments, when Zameer accidentally ran over and killed Detective Northrup, leaving his widow Margaret without closure.

“I am very disappointed in today’s outcome. From day one all I’ve wanted is accountability. We miss Jeff everyday. However, we continue on with him in our hearts, never to be forgotten, a hero in life, not death,” Margaret Northrup explained.

A statement has been released by Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw saying he shares the feelings of his members who were hoping for a different outcome.

Nader Hasan, one of Zameer’s lawyers, says he feels his client deserves an apology from some political leaders who condemned the judicial system for the decision to release Zameer on bail back in 2021.

“Some of those politicians arguably should have known a lot better, they should’ve had greater respect for the administration of justice to know that a judge wouldn’t let someone out on bail on such as serious charge unless there was a good reason for it,” Hasan said.

“I would get emails from strangers saying horrific things, like ‘I hope your kids get hit by a car,’ ” the lawyer said Sunday.

Now, “we’re getting emails from strangers, the Canadian public, expressing their outrage for what Mr. Zameer has had to endure,” some asking how they can contribute to a legal defence fund. As of late Sunday afternoon, more than $50,000 had been raised on the internet toward a $200,000 goal.

“The difference between then and now is that the public knows the truth,” Hasan said.

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