Appeal hearing focuses on pause in cop’s gunfire during Sammy Yatim shooting

The all-important five-and-a-half second gap between the first round of bullets fired at teen Sammy Yatim as he stood with a knife on a Toronto streetcar and the second volley, shot when the teen was on the ground, was under the microscope again Tuesday, as Const. James Forcillo’s appeal entered its second day.

The fate of the Toronto police officer lies, in part, in whether the Ontario Court of Appeal determines that the two rounds of shots were part of one ongoing shooting — or if it agrees that the volleys were rightly divided into two separate events, and two criminal charges.

That separation resulted in Forcillo’s 2016 conviction of attempted murder in the July 2013 shooting death of 18-year-old Yatim on a Dundas streetcar. The jury acquitted Forcillo of second-degree murder in connection to the first volley, during which the fatal shot was fired, but found him guilty of attempted murder for the second volley, unleashed as Yatim lay prone, paralyzed and dying.

Lawyers for Forcillo argued Monday that the separation of the shots into two discrete events was artificial, and that the volleys are “inextricably intertwined,” making the jury’s conviction of Forcillo “unreasonable.” As a remedy, they are asking for the appeal court to quash the conviction and acquit Forcillo.