Close this search box.
Close this search box.

Alex Karapancev interviewed on the Umar Zameer murder trial

Video Transcript

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (00:00):
Well, this case has been anything but cut and dry. Crown Prosecutors seeking a first or second degree murder conviction here. For more analysis, we are joined by Alexander Karapancev, a defense attorney with Karapancev Law. Thank you so much for joining.

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (00:13):
Thanks for having me, Melanie.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (00:14):
Okay. A lot of things that Erica mentioned there saying that Justice Ann Molloy instructing the jury with looking at five different elements that they should be considering heading into deliberations, including intent, including time in question. What do you take from her instructions there when it comes to the jury and what are the most important pieces to that puzzle?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (00:33):
Right. So Melanie, the jury’s going to have a real hard time with this case. That’s because a murderer case involving a police officer requires a few different elements for a first degree murder conviction than we’d see in other cases. For example, you didn’t hear the need for this to be proven to be a planned and deliberate murder in order to get a first degree murder conviction. Rather, all the crown needs to do is convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Zameer knew that Officer Northrop was a police officer acting in the course of his duties, if that’s what they need to prove, and that’s what the jury needs to accept. Now, whether they accept that or not, it’s going to be the live issue in this case.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (01:12):
So let’s talk about some of the roadblocks here as Erica has been covering for the last several weeks. One, whether or not he even saw Constable Northrop, and we heard some testimony from other officers which were Crown witnesses, which now as the defense is saying, wait a second, this doesn’t all line up. So what does that mean for the Crown moving forward and trying to convince this jury about other evidence?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (01:39):
Well, Melanie, what I think is really interesting is when this case first came to be known when Mr. Zameer was arrested, we saw the headlines and it sounded like a terrible case, someone running over a police officer. It sounded like a clear homicide, a clear murder. But what we’ve now seen with the evidence is that there are a lot of questions that have been raised about the credibility of these police officers that were witnesses to what happened. We heard police officers testify about seeing Officer Northrop in front of the vehicle with his arms raised with Mr. Zameer running right into him. Well, the Crown’s own accident reconstructionist contradicted that testimony and said, that’s not what happened. The officer was behind the vehicle and that supports Mr. Zameer’s evidence that he didn’t see the officer in front of him. So I think the jury’s going to have to really grapple with the credibility of these officers and that may taint the credibility of the crown’s theory overall.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (02:33):
Let’s look at all the possibilities that will be in front of the jury. Four possibilities, first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter or acquittal, and that’s a possibility. First degree murder, as many may not know when it involves an officer, the death of an officer, that’s the immediate charge. So what would have to happen for there to be a first degree murder sentencing when it comes to that?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (02:57):
Sure. In order to him guilty of first degree murder, the jury has to be satisfied that Mr. Zameer intentionally killed the man he had the intention to kill, and that he knew that Officer Northrop was a police officer acting in the course of his duties. That’s not something that would need a necessarily be proven for the other lesser offenses. For example, if we were to go to second degree murder, the crown would not have to convince the jury that Mr. Zameer knew that he was a police officer. Mind you, the crown’s whole theory has been that this incident was essentially caused because Mr. Zameer wanted to hit a police officer. So I don’t know what the likelihood is of the jury finding him guilty of second degree murder if they don’t find him guilty of first degree murder.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (03:43):
The defense has noted a number of things that this was a tragic accident that he did not see the officer. In fact, they made reference to the Nathaniel Veltman trial and said that, listen, we don’t know. I have a pregnant wife. I have a 2-year-old in the backseat. We were just looking to flee in a time of what we thought was danger. The idea of self-defense. How could that potentially play into this?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (04:07):
Right. Well, I think the defense raised an important issue. The Veltman case happened just about a month prior, and that’s gone down in our history now as one of the most notorious Islamophobic homicidal rages in Canadian history. And this is a family that’s come downtown to a can day celebration. They’re there to celebrate. They go into their car to go home. There’s nothing at all to suggest that Mr. Zameer with his pregnant wife and his child wanted to hurt anyone that night. And what they both testified to Mr. Zameer and his wife was that they see these individuals rushing their car. They think they’re going to be robbed. These individuals aren’t in police uniforms, that’s incontrovertible and that they just needed to extricate themselves from the situation.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (04:53):
How long do you think it’s going to take for the jury to come up with a decision?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (04:56):
I don’t think it’ll be a light one. I think the jury’s going to deliberate for a while. It’s Thursday today. I don’t think we’re going to get a decision by the end of the business day tomorrow. I think they’ll likely be deliberating into next week.

Melanie Ng – Host of CityNews (05:08):
Okay. We will continue to watch. There is a lot to consider. Alexander Karapancev, thank you so much for your time. Appreciate it.

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (05:14):
Thank you for having me, Melanie.

Picture of Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev

Alexander Karapancev is a Toronto criminal lawyer practicing throughout the province of Ontario. He regularly serves as lead trial counsel on serious and complex criminal cases. He is the founder of Karapancev Law, a law firm representing clients facing criminal charges, regulatory offences, and professional discipline proceedings.

Mr. Karapancev has acted as counsel in hundreds of cases throughout the province of Ontario, regularly representing clients at trials, applications, bail hearings and preliminary inquiries. He is regularly retained to defend individuals charged with serious allegations of fraud, drug trafficking, DUI offences, domestic assault, and sexual assault. Prior to founding his law firm, Mr. Karapancev practiced criminal defence at a boutique Toronto law firm and also served as a per diem Crown prosecutor.

Top Rated Toronto Criminal Defence Lawyers

Results matter. A reputation built on winning. Karapancev Law Is Ready to Fight for You!