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Alex Karapancev interviewed on the Zameer Murder Acquittal

Video Transcript

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (00:00):
A jury deciding what happened in the parking garage on July 2nd, 2021, was a tragedy and not a crime for more analysis. We’re joined now by defense attorney Alexander Karapancev, Alexander, thank you so much for joining us.

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (00:15):
Thanks for having me.

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (00:16):
Now, the jury finding Zameer is an innocent man on the fourth day of deliberations. I mean, the fact that deliberations went on for as long as they did, what does that signal to you?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (00:27):
Well, that signals to me that the jury had to grapple with several important issues. The jury was given several potential avenues when it came to convicting Mr. Zameer. If they wanted to, they could have found him guilty of first degree murder, second degree murder or manslaughter. They clearly found him guilty of no crime, and I think that’s why it took them this long to deliberate given all the evidence they had to digest.

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (00:52):
Yeah. I want to touch on that point because Zameer was on trial for first degree murder because Northrop was a police officer who was killed in the line of duty. In order to have reached that conviction or even the lesser offenses of second degree murder and manslaughter, what would jurors have had to accept?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (01:10):
So to find him guilty of first degree murder, the jurors would’ve had to accept that Mr. Zameer knew that the officer was a police officer engaged in the course of his duties. That I think was difficult for the jury to accept, given the evidence that came out that none of the officers were in uniform. In order to find him guilty of second degree murder, the jury would’ve had to come to the conclusion that Mr. Zameer had the intention of killing the officer. They clearly didn’t come to that conclusion either. And lastly, for manslaughter, the jury would’ve had to conclude that Mr. Zameer was engaged in an unlawful act, dangerous driving what was proposed by the prosecution at this trial, and that he unintentionally killed the officer. The jury clearly counted not guilty of that offense as well.

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (01:59):
I’m just curious, should this first degree murder charge ever have been brought to trial?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (02:06):
Well, I think the judge had that same question once the jury started deliberating. We saw what happened in court when the jury was not in the courtroom, and the judge made a number of comments to the crown questioning how they’re putting this first degree murder charge to the jury. Given the lack of evidence, I think a lot of lawyers that were witnessing this trial are frankly surprised that this prosecution occurred in the way it did.

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (02:33):
As Zameer’s defense lawyer, Nader Hasan acknowledged today is not a day for celebration, he said it’s not lost on his client that Constable Northrop lost his life. In your opinion, did the system work as it should have?

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (02:49):
Well, I think the system did, and that’s because this man, Mr. Zameer, had a fair trial, in a criminal trial, the burden on the crown to prove the case against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. This started as a very serious case. It’s a serious case whenever anyone dies, but this was a first degree murder allegation. When these allegations first came out a few years ago. Our public was stunned. Notwithstanding all that negative publicity that Mr. Zameer had to contend with, these jurors clearly did their job. They listened to the evidence, they assessed the evidence, and they determined that he was not guilty. I think the system did work. Obviously, the tragedy that occurred was terrible. However, it’s good that this tragedy wasn’t compounded by a wrongful conviction.

Caryn Ceolin – Host of CityNews (03:38):
Alexander Karpancev, thank you so much for your insight and your analysis. We appreciate you joining us today.

Alexander Karapancev – Criminal Defence Lawyer (03:44):
Thank you for having me.

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.

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