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‘I wish I could trade my life with his,’ says Toronto man on trial for stabbing Victoria Park CI student

Breaking down in tears on the stand in a University Avenue courtroom Tuesday, Ahmed Rafin told Madam Justice Katherine B. Corrick that on the day his friend Maahir Dosani was fatally stabbed outside Victoria Park Collegiate Institute, Nov. 16, 2021, he went there to protect him.

But Dosani ended up being the one to protect Rafin when he was swarmed by a group of students.

“I really, really wish I could trade my life with his. I really don’t want to be alive anymore,” Rafin wept.

Testifying in his own defence at the judge-alone trial where he’s charged with manslaughter, Rafin, who was 19 at the time, said he went to meet Dosani at school because his 15-year-old friend wanted to fight with a boy who Dosani said had beaten him up a few weeks earlier.

“He basically wanted me and a couple of his school friends to be there to make sure he didn’t get jumped and he could have his one-on-one fight,” Rafin said.

He admitted he was immature at the time and did not think things through, denying he was planning to fight despite the fact he brought a knife to school with him that day.

“I don’t know what was in Maahir’s mind,” he said. “He was just sick and tired of being bullied all the time. He wanted to show others who bullied him he can stand up for himself.”

Rafin said he met Dosani in an Instagram group chat in 2018 but didn’t know how old he was.

“We were both Muslims, we lived in the same area of the city, we both vibed with each other,” he said. “Maahir liked to play video games and sometimes he would help me with girls.”

Video surveillance showed in court captured Dosani and Rafin entering a washroom inside the school just after 2:30 pm on Nov. 16, 2021.

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Rafin testified they talked about vaping flavours, before he said they realized the boy Dosani wanted to fight was not at school.

He testified he wanted to get out of the area but was confronted by the vice-principal who approached him on the school property and asked him to leave. Rafin said as he was walking away, a group of students followed him and Dosani before swarming them.

“I noticed a guy holding what seemed like an extendable baton and others holding knives, they were pocketknives,” Rafin said. “They were closed but you could tell by the handles.”

“When I noticed that the group was getting larger and we were completely surrounded by students with weapons, I was scared. They weren’t listening. I was afraid they were going to attack. I put my hand in my pocket where I had a knife. I figured nobody wants to knife-fight.”

He said as he was backing away, somebody punched him and knocked him out, and everybody started hitting him with extendable sticks.

Four separate cell phone videos taken by bystanders were displayed side-by-side, showing Rafin swarmed by a group of students, as he lay on the ground.

“At first I thought it was multiple sticks, but after watching the video I realized it was just one guy hitting me,” he said. “I was just trying to get away. I didn’t want to die. I had the knife in my hand. I wasn’t even thinking of the knife. I wasn’t using it. I was just trying to get away.”

Rafin told the court when he came to after being knocked unconscious, he tried to run away because he thought they were going to attack him again.

He said out of concern for Maahir, he went back to where the attack happened. Rafin said he was arrested almost immediately and was confused.

“I still had no idea what was going on,” he said. “I just knew I got beat up. I just knew that Maahir was injured but nothing other than that.”

During cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Martin Sabat suggested that Rafin came prepared to fight because he had a knife with him, but Rafin denied that.

“Most of the time, I used it like a utility tool,” he explained. “The other times I used it to show off to my friends.”

Sabat said he had to have known that Dosani was also armed. “No,” Dosani replied. “I wasn’t expecting him to bring a knife. I was just expecting him to have a one-on-one fight.”

Sabat added Rafin told the students he was going to rob them.

“I said that to sound tough, it looked like they were about to attack us,” he added, saying they were completely outnumbered by an angry mob.

Sabat replied, “I’m going to suggest the crowd got angry when you took the knife out.”

Sabat reminded Rafin that witnesses only recalled seeing his knife.

Rafin was adamant he saw three knives and a blade, and one had a baton. Court has previously heard that only one knife was found at the scene, and it had both Dosani and Rafin’s DNA on it.

Two other teens were also wounded that day.

Rafin testified it’s possible the knife ended up in one of his attacker’s legs. The Crown suggested he stabbed his leg.

As cross-examination continued, Rafin began to break down.

“Every day his memory flows through my mind,” he wept.

“I truly believe I didn’t cause the injury to Maahir,” Rafin said. “Throughout the whole swarming, I was just trying not to injure anyone. I was trying to get away and I really, really miss Maahir.”

Closing submissions will begin later this week.

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