Windsor Court House (Image courtesy of Google Maps via Street View)Windsor Court House (Image courtesy of Google Maps via Street View)
London

Cross examination of Veltman's arresting officer concludes

Warning: this article may contain content that is distressing for some readers.

The cross-examination of Constable Sarah Cochrane of the London Police Service (LPS) opened court Wednesday at the Nathaniel Veltman trial.

Defence lawyer Christopher Hicks began by replaying the arrest video of Veltman from June 6, 2021 to re-establish timing and "who did what, when."

Hicks questioned Cst. Cochrane about Veltman's compliance during his arrest and the several minute span in which the charges against him changed from dangerous operation of a motor vehicle to attempted murder to first degree murder.

Cochrane confirmed that she advised Veltman about his right to counsel each time his charges changed and that she received a response from him every time she asked if he understood.

Hicks then went over Cochrane driving to London police headquarters with Veltman and what occurred when they arrived at the cell bay. He asked if Cochrane could remember how Veltman was acting and whether he was still smiling when they were waiting to book him into the cells.

"He was still happy, he didn't appear sad, he didn't appear any other emotion," Cst. Cochrane replied.

As he did with Cst. Patti Leavoy-Costa, Hicks asked why Cochrane, a female officer, searched a male suspect when LPS tries to gender match searches, especially after Cst. Jamie Chamberlain, a male officer, got to the scene.

"I felt it urgent for me to search him at that time," Cochrane said of the first search. She explained that the moments it would have taken to transfer custody from herself to Chamberlain would have been particularly vulnerable, Veltman could have seized the opportunity to attack one of them or to run away, so she chose to search Veltman herself.

Following a morning recess, Hicks replayed video of the LPS booking hall to establish Veltman's cooperation and compliance during his booking.

Cochrane agreed that he cooperated during that time.

Before the jury was released for the day, Assistant Crown Jennifer Moser read an agreed upon statement of fact about the cause of death of four members of the Afzaal family on June 6, 2021.

The statement read that Talat Afzaal, 74, her son Salman Afzaal, 46, his wife Madiha Salman, 44, and their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Afzaal all died of multiple trauma. Adding that blunt force caused severe injuries including fractures and internal bleeding.

Veltman has pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder after his truck intentionally hit five members of the family while they were out for an evening walk.

A young boy was the only survivor.

Court resumes at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

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