Pretrial set for Ottawa police officer charged in Abdirahman Abdi's death

The pretrial for an Ottawa police constable charged in the 2016 death of Abdirahman Abdi will be held in May, and a judge from out of town will be handling the case.

Earlier this month, the Special Investigations Unit charged Const. Daniel Montsion with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

Montsion did not appear in person at the Ontario court of justice Wednesday morning. Instead, a designate from defence lawyer Michael Edelson's firm appeared on his behalf. The practice is not unusual at this stage of the court process.

The Crown has assigned Toronto-based prosecutor Philip Perlmutter, who is part of a unit that handles charges laid by the Special Investigations Unit. A judge from outside Ottawa will also be assigned to the case, Perlmutter told court.

Montsion suspended with pay

Abdi, a 37-year-old Somali-Canadian man with unspecified mental health issues, lost vital signs during a confrontation with Montsion and Const. Dave Weir on July 24, 2016. He was pronounced dead in hospital the following afternoon.

Montsion, 36, had been assigned to desk duty throughout the SIU's investigation and is now suspended with pay.

Some officers ordered black and blue wristbands in support of Montsion, with his badge number and the words "united we stand" and "divided we fall" on them. About 1,200 were purchased and are being sold for $2 each, with the proceeds going to a police benevolent fund. 

Weir was also under investigation by the SIU initially, but was later deemed to have been a witness officer only.

The SIU investigates cases of death, serious injury or sexual assault involving police in the province.