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Crown to appeal acquittals in Dafonte Miller beating

Crown lawyers are challenging  the acquittals of off-duty Toronto police Const. Michael Theriault and his brother Christian, each found not guilty of aggravated assault and attempting to obstruct justice in the beating of Dafonte Miller. The news comes on the same day that Miller rejected an apology from Toronto’s acting Police Chief James Ramer for not involving the SIU in investigating the two Theriault brothers.

In June, Michael Theriault was convicted of assaulting Miller, then 19, during a high-profile December 2016 violent clash on a residential Whitby street. The assault left Miller, a young Black man, with catastrophic injuries, including blinding him in one eye.

But in a three hour decision that was delivered on social media Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca found the brothers not guilty of aggravated assault and of attempting to obstruct justice in connection to the assault, finding there was insufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to convict them.

Lawyers for the Ministry of the Attorney General laid out grounds for appeal against both brothers, including that Di Luca “erred in his analysis and assessment of the defence of self-defence” and that he erred in his “analysis and assessment of whether (Miller) was lawfully arrested with reasonable force.”

The Crown is asking for the acquittals be set aside and a new trial be held.

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