Almost three years ago we lost our good friend and team member, Zack Noureddine, to a senseless act of violence. He was only 25.
Noureddine and his friend Mitchell Conery were attacked by a group of three strangers on Dec. 29, 2015, shortly after leaving a restaurant in Toronto. The men emerged from an alleyway as Zack and Conery made their way to their car. Conery testified that after getting punched and stomped, he witnessed the men kicking and punching Noureddine in the head, which ultimately lead to his death.
Matthew Moreira, 34, pleaded not guilty to murder, and not guilty to robbery, but guilty to the lesser offence of attempted robbery. Moreira was also convicted of manslaughter. Smith had attempted to plead guilty to manslaughter.
Patrick Smith, 28, was found not guilty of first-degree murder but guilty of second-degree murder. Smith, who was also found guilty of assault for stomping and injuring Conery.
A third man is being tried separately in the case. William Cummins, 32, faces a first degree murder charge which he’ll be on trial for in the new year. He attempted to plead guilty to a manslaughter charge but it was rejected by the Crown.
The Noureddine family is from Ottawa and made the trip to Toronto for the trial to support their son. This was the second run at things since the first trial had been dismissed by Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell. The Toronto judge declared that prosecution had improperly introduced video evidence to the jury.
Some of that video evidence included a clip of the three accused men re-enacting the murder in an elevator just a couple of hours after the murder. Cummins can be seen demonstrating how he delivered a blow, Smith simulating how he stomped his innocent victim, and Moreira laughing.
The Noureddine family was visibly upset that the men had avoided first degree murder convictions. Magda Noureddine, Zack’s mother, was heard sobbing as the family left the courtroom.
“It’s not fair, they killed my son.”
Zack’s father Hassan was also visibility distraught with the results but took the time to thank the jury for their contributions.
“Without them there wouldn’t have been any case.”
Crown attorneys Bev Richards and Mihael Cole are now hoping a jury will agree that a first-degree murder charge is justified for Cummins, because of the fact that “Conery was confined during the attack.”
Sentencing for Moreira and Smith has been set for March 29.
A foundation for Zack has been established at ZackNoureddine.com. The Zack Noureddine Foundation objective is to promote arts entrepreneurship as a key mechanism to avert violence among youth. The foundation is currently using its own fundraising initiatives by hosting events and selling Zack’s photo prints to attract influential community partners to establish a community space in Zack’s name.
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