A poll has found that two thirds of Toronto residents believe that Toronto Police constable James Forcillo had a fair trial.
The poll, conducted by Forum Research, took a random sampling of 549 Toronto voters and found that 67% of those polled believe he was able to get a fair trial with just 17% thinking that he could not while the remaining 16% had no opinion.
The poll also found that that 39% of people think the guilty verdict in the Forcillo trial will lead to better policing in Toronto, while 60% of Torontonians approve of charging police officers with murder for firing their weapon in the line of duty.
Commenting on the findings, Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff said ”“what we see is a crystallization of public opinion on the appropriateness of holding police officers to the same standards as other citizens, and also on the fairness of Constable Forcillo’s trial. It appears the guilty verdict for attempted murder has just confirmed what most believed all along, that police officers can be charged with murder, that Constable Forcillo was fairly tried and that it will lead to a positive outcome in the end, apart from Sammy Yatim’s tragic death.”
James forcillo was found guilty of attempted murder in the death of Toronto teen Sammy Yatim on board an empty streetcar in July of 2013, a crime which carries a minimum sentence of four years.
He was also found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Meanwhile a separate poll, also conducted by Forum Research found that the majority (54%) approve of the verdict of guilty of attempted murder, while one third disapprove of this verdict (34%), and one half of Toronto adults disapprove of Constable Forcillo being found not guilty of second degree murder (51%).
Of these findings, Bozinoff said “it is clear that public sentiment was in favour of a guilty verdict, and, in fact, some of those who do not approve of the guilty verdict may be those who wished for a more severe verdict by the jury. While more than a half of the city’s residents agree he should have been found guilty of something, more than half think it should have been the more serious charge.”
People were also asked about their opinion on the fact the Forcillo had been suspended with pay, with half saying they diapprove of this following the guilty verdict handed down on Monday.
Results based on the total sample are considered accurate plus of minus 4%, 19 times out of 20.