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Toronto Defence lawyer for Toronto van attack suspect Alek Minassian seeks publication ban on a statement made to police

The case of a man accused killing 10 people by driving a van along a busy sidewalk in Toronto is expected in court today. Duty counsel Georgia Koulis, left to right, Alek Minassian, Justice of the Peace Stephen Waisberg, and Crown prosecutor Joe Callaghan are shown in court in Toronto on April 24, 2018 in this courtroom sketch.

Alexandra Newbould/The Canadian Press

The lawyer for a man accused of killing ten people by driving a van down a busy Toronto sidewalk has asked a judge to prevent the publication of his client’s statement to police.

Boris Bytensky argued to have Alek Minassian’s statement placed under a publication ban until the man’s trial is complete, even if it comes up during the proceedings.

Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy described the request as asking to hold a secret trial.

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Mr. Minassian faces 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder. He is set to stand trial before a judge alone next year.

Several media outlets, including The Canadian Press, are arguing against Mr. Bytensky’s request.

Mr. Bytensky has argued that publishing the details would taint potential witnesses at trial, a position supported by the Crown.

But a lawyer for the media outlets says there is no evidence to support that argument and has cited the open-courts principle in arguing against the ban.

Justice Molloy has reserved her decision on the matter until Aug. 16.

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