There’s a lot of words for an accused killer to choose in court. In the case of James Rajkumar (not his legal name), he used the word “legal.”
But the term he chose has since been deemed inappropriate. Rajkumar, in a motion filed in Ontario Superior Court on Monday, asked the court to lift a publication ban that prohibits information surrounding him in the wake of a fatal police shooting in Toronto last year.
Here are some choice words from the motion.
“The misuse of the legal standard in the above circumstances by the applicant to speak about and engage in petition activities, while outside the courtroom, constitutes a reckless disregard of the consequences of his actions.”
Rajkumar, who was granted bail in February, is accused of first-degree murder and firearm offences in the 2015 shooting death of Ontario police officer Ron Taverner.
With its stunning wording, the plea wasn’t surprising. Common court hearsay is allowed under the Criminal Code of Canada, the law of evidence and the judge’s role as a juror.
It’s only a breach of the public’s right to know if there are breaches to other laws. That, according to Rajkumar’s attorneys, isn’t the case here.
“To suggest that the rest of the members of the public have a privacy interest in being protected from the facts of this matter, as if they had the same privacy interest that the deceased’s family has, to suggest that they have the same privacy interest that the complainant’s family has in being protected from the fact that they’re victims of crime, to say that they have the same interest in not having the investigation subjects in this proceeding address allegations that they’re victims of criminal activity — to me, that would be more than reckless in its nature,” Rajkumar’s lead attorney James Turk told CNN.
His co-counsel, Christopher Jury, said the only point of a blanket publication ban would be for fear of inciting hatred, possible threats of violence and crimes.
“If you don’t do it right you could risk a slew of public ignorance and chaos,” Jury said.
“If in fact there is hatred, you could prevent people from knowing that hatred exists and it could become unstable enough to motivate criminal acts.”
This, from a reporter who’s covered this case from the beginning.
“Such a stretch of the definition.”
This, from the executive director of the Toronto Police Association, Mike McCormack.
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Rajkumar was arrested on the spot on April 19, 2015, after police received a 911 call reporting a man firing a handgun in the city’s north end.
After a traffic stop in the Scarborough neighborhood, officers Tasered Rajkumar and took him into custody. While being transported by police, Rajkumar allegedly grabbed a gun and fired the weapon, killing Taverner, a 42-year-old man.
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Taverner’s widow, Sue-Ellen Taverner, told CNN in February she can’t understand why Rajkumar has been granted bail but she has no desire to speak with him.
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“Whatever I need to do to be stronger as a person in that situation. It will be hard, but I have to go back to my work and hopefully work,” Taverner said.