The man found not criminally responsible for attacking soldiers at a military recruitment event in Toronto wants to attend classes at Mohawk College.
Ayanle Hassan Ali has been in secure psychiatric custody at the St. Joseph’s Healthcare West Fifth Campus since the attack two years ago.
Now, doctors feel he can be given passes to leave for education purposes, even though they still consider him a considerable risk to the public.
March 14, 2016, Ayanle Hassan Ali walked into the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre in North York, and immediately started punching the soldier at the entrance in the head, before pulling a large kitchen knife from a folder and stabbing him, leaving a three-inch gash to the corporal’s arm.
Another officer jumped over a desk armed with a chair to subdue him.
A Sergeant slipped on some spilled coffee and Ali lunged, stabbing over and over, only his knife was pointed the wrong way and he was using the blunt handle.
Eventually Ali was hit with either a photocopier or a garbage can and fell. He was pinned with chairs and soldiers piled on top of him until they gained control. He had been listening to the Koran in his Ipod and murmuring a prayer.
Two years later, the now 30-year-old was found not criminally responsible. He is schizophrenic and had been hearing bothersome messages from everywhere.
Ali has been in a secure psychiatric facility at St. Joseph’s Healthcare for two years with no privileges, other than the use of a fitness room and courtyard. He tried to escape once, shortly after admission, by buzzing at a door and asking to leave.
Now his doctors think he should be allowed passes to leave, and go to a class at Mohawk College across the street. They say he would initially be accompanied by staff, and if that goes well, he could go on his own.
Mohawk College says this decision was news to them. Ali has not applied to Mohawk, so if he was to become a student, it wouldn’t be this fall. The college says it can’t deny someone education based on mental illness, but it can develop a plan so that student safety is ensured.
His doctor opines that Ali’s psychotic disorder is well managed when he is on medication but he has a second risk factor: “His potential to act out on political, or radical ideas. There is no treatment for this.” he says.
The reasons for the review board disposition go on to say doctors do not believe Ali is a terrorist, although his offences stemmed from a psychotic episode in which he felt compelled to act against the Canadian Military and “Mr. Ali holds some of the same delusions, that he experienced at the time”
Ali’s lawyer agreed with the board that he does constitute a significant threat to the safety of the public.
Mohawk College heard from a lot of concerned parents and students after news reports about the review board decisions. The school says it would likely make some sort of arrangement with Ali to get his education remotely.