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They beat their captives with a fish carving, and they played Russian roulette. Court documents detail bizarre Toronto kidnapping

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“I’m (going to) untie your bro,” mumbled the teenaged kidnapper to his prisoner’s brother on the other end of the phone.

“Get the three (thousand dollars) and then we’re gonna meet, okay? Fam, I, I … I trust you fam. I’ll put one in this kid early morning tomorrow if nothing is going on fam.”

The captor, who wasn’t a family member, wanted $10,000 to release his two 16-year-old abductees, unaware Toronto police were listening and recording the April 20, 2016 phone call. Hours earlier, police obtained an emergency wiretap to capture the ransom negotiations and money exchange details.

It’s an urban crime tale featuring scenes straight out of a Quentin Tarantino crime movie; they include a condo shootout, a game of Russian roulette and forced sex acts.

It’s also a case underscoring the intractable problem of uncooperative witnesses, even when they’ve been victimized, and the challenges they pose for police and prosecutors trying to bring perpetrators to justice.

Earlier this fall, Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy convicted the 17-year-old ringleader, identified in court as T.G., of kidnapping, firearms and drug trafficking.

While he can’t be identified because of his age, Molloy found him to be a gun-toting, street-level drug dealer with a taste for expensive cognac and lavish spending on cars and short-term rental accommodations. “T.G. was clearly engaged in a criminal lifestyle, as evidence in part by his participation in the kidnapping,” she wrote in a 24-page decision.

Molloy dismissed all charges against his co-accused, M.R.

About an hour before his arrest, T.G. was spotted on a high-rise balcony, “smoking, singing, and pointing to a stack of money he had in one hand.” When heavily armed Emergency Task force officers busted through the door they found street-level drug paraphernalia, fentanyl-laced heroin, crack cocaine and $1,900 in cash.

In early December, Lincoln Richards and Rushine Rowe, in their early 20s, both pleaded guilty for their roles in the kidnapping.

The two captives can’t be identified because of safety concerns.

Their ordeal began at an April 18, 2016, party gone awry in a unit on the 25th floor at 300 Front St., a downtown Toronto building with a reputation as a hot spot for short-term renters throwing parties.

Using the name Antowuan Adams, T.G. paid cash for Unit 2509 — it was customary for him in early 2016, when he was blowing about $4,000 a month on cars and condos, the judge wrote in her decision.

Richards, a rapper known as Ranski, brought two 16-year-olds to the party. One was an outsider, hailing from an area in northwest Toronto known as Queen’s Drive. Most of the partiers were associated with the city’s hardscrabble Lawrence Heights and Driftwood neighbourhoods.

Around 3:30 a.m., uninvited members of “the Queen’s Drive group” showed up at the building, the judge wrote summarizing the evening’s events. Richards, Rowe and two youths left the party to find them, but didn’t, and headed back to the 25th-floor condo. When the elevator door opened, the Queen’s Drive members were in the hallway.

Guns were drawn, bullets fired, surveillance footage recording some of the mayhem.

Police found evidence of shootings in three separate areas of the building and casings from at least two separate guns. Despite this, no one was injured.

T.G. and his associates blamed the 16-year-olds for disclosing the location of the party to the interlopers.

The bandits fled the condo tower and headed for a townhouse in Swansea, near High Park, where Richards lived with his mother. There, the teens were tied to chairs and beaten repeatedly, one of them pistol-whipped in the head.

While Richards stayed behind to clean up the mess, the group took their tied-up captives to two different apartments in Lawrence Heights. There, they were subjected to more beatings, one of them attacked by an assailant using a wooden carving of a fish, grabbed from a wall.

Digital photos of the bound and bloodied pair were sent to members of the Queen’s Drive group.

The Crown also alleged the kidnappers forced the teens to perform sexual acts on each other, which they videotaped to ensure their demands for $10,000 in ransom were met.

An older brother, a convicted drug dealer who knew some of the kidnappers, received a photo showing the captors threatening to cut off his finger with scissors.

Their mother, who learned of the kidnapping from her older son, confronted Richards on the street wearing her son’s jacket. “Your son is in this predicament right now because of what he did so anything that happens to your son he deserves,” Richards, who flashed his gun, told her.

On Thursday, April 21, 2016, the teen’s mother made a $3,000 downpayment on the ransom and he was released at a Husky gas station. It was his grandmother who alerted the cops, who got the emergency wire as a result. The arrests followed later.

After he was set free, the teen gave a detailed three-hour statement to police about his ordeal. “They were playing Russian roulette with us, putting one bullet in … and spinning it,” he told them. One shot went “right by my head.”

But he eventually realized he would be required to testify in court.

“Who does such a thing?” the exhausted teen asked the officers.

“Who does what?” one of them asked back.

“Come to trial and you going to look at me and I am going to say, ‘yeah, this guy he kidnapped me.’ ”

After that he clammed up — and recanted everything he had already told them.

Despite this, prosecutors Elizabeth Nadeau and Glenn Brotherston were able to get his statement admitted into court. (The other victim also refused to cooperate.)

To prove their case, led by Toronto Police Detectives Sergio Brito and Brandon Robinson, the Crown attorneys relied on what the judge called “substantial independent” corroborative evidence, which included fingerprints, surveillance footage, wiretaps — and a broken carving of a fish.

Next month, prosecutors are seeking to have T.G. sentenced as an adult. Rowe and Richards are also scheduled for sentencing in January.

Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy



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Anglais

A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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