Canada Quarantines Justice

Murder charges against Habibullah Ahmadi could be tossed.

“The Superior Court trial of Habibullah “Danny” Ahmadi, charged with second-degree murder in the death of Sara Anne Widholm, 76, is set to commence March 16, 2020, in Chatham.”

Contrary to that November 25, 2019 Windsor Star report by Doug Schmidt, the murder trial of Habibullah Ahmadi did not commence on March 16, 2020 in Chatham, Ontario, where it had been moved from Windsor. The Ontario Superior Court has not set a new trial date and before one takes place, all charges against Habibullah Ahmadi could be dropped. That would be the latest outrage in a case that began on October 8, 2017.

Anne Widholm, 75, was out for a Sunday stroll on Windsor’s Gatatchio trail, picking up trash, as was her custom. As police are charging, Habibullah Ahmadi, 21, attacked Widholm, leaving the elderly woman unconscious and near death.

“In my 12 years in Windsor, this is the most severe beating I’ve seen,” neurosurgeon Dr. Balraj Jhawar told the Windsor Star. Dr. Jhawar detailed multiple brain hemorrhages, fractured vertebrae and “the worst skull fractures” he had seen in more than a decade.  All told, “this is among the most brutal things I’ve seen in my career.”

Habibullah Ahmadi made no statement and any information about his motive failed to emerge. At 21, the suspect was a full adult, but police did not release his booking photo. In similar style, no photo of victim Anne Widholm accompanied the Star reports.

Habibullah Ahmadi was described as a “Windsor man” who also calls himself “Daniel” but locals did not learn how long he had lived in Windsor and what family members, if any, had to say about him. Not a single news story detailed where Habibullah Ahmadi went to school or where he worked.

The attack left Anne Widholm in a coma and she passed away on December 15, 2018. The charges against Habibullah Ahmadi, originally assault, were then upgraded to second-degree murder. A murder trial reported for January, 2019, did not take place.

The November 25, 2019 Windsor Star report claimed “a preliminary hearing ended two months ago in Ontario Court of Justice,” but no news story provided any testimony or evidence from the hearing, not even the name of the judge or the plea the accused entered. Preliminary hearings are public, Doug Schmidt told this writer in an email, but “media can’t report details.” Why they couldn’t was not explained.

On March 16, 2020, court official in Chatham had not received the file from Windsor where “pre-trial motions” were taking place. As Schmidt explains, “these are closed-door meetings divulging information we can’t publish.” The reason they couldn’t was not exactly clear.

Coronavirus has put trials on hold, but Schmidt says the matter is set for return to Superior Court in June “for a new, future trial date,” which the Star “will be covering.” But as Schmidt noted last November, maybe not.

Under the Canadian Supreme Court’s 2016 Jordan decision, if a trial for an indictable offence hasn’t concluded within 30-months, the defense can apply to have the criminal charges tossed. The deadline for accused murderer Habibullah Ahmadi had been April, 2020. According to Ontario Court officials, the defendant seeks a trial by a judge, not a jury, and the case has been adjourned until June 5, 2020, when court officials in Windsor will set a new trial date.

That puts the case beyond the 30-month deadline, allowing the defense to petition for dismissal of charges. Any observer could believe that was the plan from the start. The attack on Anne Widholm, a Christian woman, was initially described as “random,” ignoring the possible motive of the “Windsor man,” Habibullah Ahmadi, also known as “Danny.” At this writing the defendant has never been quoted and his booking photo never shown.

That runs contrary to other cases of violent crime wrapped up long before the 30-month deadline. Habibullah’s attorney Patricia Brown told this writer they could not comment on the case. Local reporters come across as stenographers for the secretive courts and police.

Last year, Windsor police claimed to have solved the case of Ljubica Topic, sexually assaulted and murdered in 1971. Police had positively identified the killer through DNA but refused to provided his name, even though the man was now deceased. With that kind of stonewalling for the dead rapist and murderer of six-year-old girl, secrecy and double standards for Windsor man Habibullah Ahmadi should be no problem.

Feminists did not denounce the attack on Anne Widholm, 75, as an example of violence against women or toxic masculinity. Then-Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who has often spoken out on bullying, offered no statement on the case. Neither did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who championed an 11-year-old Toronto girl who claimed a man cut her hijab, which turned out to be a hoax. On the other hand, the murder of Anne Widholm was not a hoax, and according to the surgeon who tried to save her life, not a random act.

“This is not just another assault,” Dr. Jhawar told reporters. “This is concerning to me. This is maybe representing a new, dark side of Windsor that we can’t let propagate.”

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