FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE
In response to the recent guilty verdict in the Alek Minassian trial, we at Autism Canada appreciate that the Court acknowledged that while Alek Minassian did have a childhood diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD was not the reason nor the motivation for his criminal actions.
TORONTO, ON | MARCH 3, 2021 – In response to the recent guilty verdict in the Alek Minassian trial, we at Autism Canada appreciate that the Court acknowledged that while Alek Minassian did have a childhood diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD was not the reason nor the motivation for his criminal actions.
We cannot find satisfaction with a conclusion that any person in fact committed a criminal act; that would be perverse. However, we express our appreciation that the criminal justice process resulted in an affirmation of the position in which persons with ASD find themselves in this country.
We also recognize that the Court rejected the attempt of Mr. Minassian to use autism as the basis for a reason – or lack thereof – behind his pre-mediated hate crime against women. People on the Autism Spectrum are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators of it. This act of violence was pre-meditated and well calculated.
“Autism does not predispose people to criminality, nor to the incapacity to make moral distinctions”, said
Dermot Cleary, Autism Canada Chair. By Mr. Minassian’s own admission he understood the severity of his actions, quoted in court by the psychiatrist who examined him as saying, “I do feel a little guilty for the ones that are likely very young wondering why I killed their parents”. Mr. Minassian also knew that his actions would leave his own parents upset and disappointed. These very feelings are inconsistent with an inability to understand the moral content of the choices he was making, or the ability to resist his urges. That much was clear at the outset of Mr. Minassian’s case.
Justice Molloy stated that ASD, in some severe forms and especially when existing with other illnesses, might contribute to impairments sufficient to dispel criminality. While difficult to hear, this observation creates an opportunity to hold a thoughtful conversation, in which ASD is placed in its proper perspective. Given
Mr. Minassian’s own admissions, this case was never that opportunity.
We would like to thank the Crown Attorney’s office, who, for the whole community proved that those with ASD are not inherently destined for a life of violent crime. We would also like to recognize Justice Anne Molloy for understanding that autism was not on trial, but rather that a man who committed a heinous crime happens to have autism.
We emphatically stand with the autism community in Canada and as such we ask that all parties be mindful of the potential for unwarranted and negative perceptions which can impact on over half a million Canadians living with ASD. Autism Canada has proudly served the autism community in Canada since 1976 and we will remain by your side today, tomorrow and beyond.
2021 marks our 45th Anniversary and we are proud to have served the autism community in Canada since 1976. Autism Canada is the only Canadian organization with a national perspective on the issues currently facing those with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families and other stakeholders. The staff, Board of Directors, and Autism Ambassadors have a deep and very personal connection to the Autism Spectrum. We live it in both our personal and professional lives which is what gives us the passion and expertise to proudly continue our work. Autism Canada stands for inclusivity, knowledge, and acceptance and encourages everyone to See The Spectrum Differently.
For media inquiries, please contact: