Four Months and Still No Ruling: Why?

Written By John Goddard, Posted on April 2, 2024

Details of an attempted mass murder in Canada might never be made public.

By John Goddard, April 2, 2024

The crime has no precedent in Canada but might never go to trial.

A gunman burst into a Mississauga, Ontario takeout restaurant called Chicken Land almost three years ago to slaughter an entire family at their workplace. The elder son died on the spot. The father, mother, younger son, and delivery man suffered terrible wounds but survived, the younger son having been shot through the neck. The teenage daughter dodged two bullets by diving behind a freezer.

No public figure denounced the outrage. The national news media essentially blacked out the story, restricting coverage to a few routine crime briefs. Politicians who would normally decry such shocking gun violence said nothing. No politician — not even the local mayor at the time, Bonnie Crombie — so much as offered condolences to the surviving family members.

The date was May 29, 2021. Within days, police picked up three suspects: Anand Nath, Naqash Abbasi, and Suliman Raza. All three were charged with murder and five counts of attempted murder. As for the motive, all that is known for sure is that the shootings had nothing to do with money, drugs, or gangs. Instead, evidence not yet made public suggests a connection to Islamic extremism. The victims were non-Muslim, the accused men were Muslim. All three were refused bail and remain in jail pending trial.

Chickenlan Murder Suspects

Now the question: will there be a trial or will the suspects go free without one?

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms grants anybody charged with a crime the right to be tried “within a reasonable time.” In serious criminal cases, the Supreme Court of Canada has set a limit of 30 months, unless the Crown can successfully argue for an extension due to exceptional circumstances. Failure to obtain extra time can result in the charges being stayed and the accused person, or persons, walking free.

The Chicken Land case hit the 30-month mark last December 9. A few days earlier, two of the defence lawyers appeared before a judge in Brampton to request extra documents, the details of which cannot be reported due to a court-ordered publication ban.

Superior Court Justice Ria Tzimas said she would reflect on the matter. After nearly four months, she has yet to issue a ruling. Perhaps instead of preparing for a trial, the parties are discussing a plea deal — exchanging guilty pleas for reduced sentences — which would also mean no evidence would ever be presented in open court.

The latest official trail date, after repeated postponements, is May 21, just short of the three-year anniversary of the attempted family mass-murder.

Previous Report
Chicken Land Murder – Religiously Motivated Hate Crime Or Random Killing?
July 9, 2021

John Goddard is a former Toronto Star reporter and co-author of “Honking for Freedom: The Trucker Convoy That Gave Us Hope.”

John Goddard

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