Warmington: O'Neil Grant is not welcome in Canada

JOE WARMINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

O'Neil Grant can just stay in Jamaica!

Dead or alive. Either way, he should never be permitted to come back here.

Turns out he's dead and his unnamed "wife" and "friends" want to bring the body of the slain, deported criminal back to Canada for burial.

There better not be any taxpayers' money spent on it.

It takes a lot of nerve to try to get this community to have sympathy for a criminal who was charged and later acquitted in the callous Just Desserts slaying of ViVi Leimonis.

But that's what seems to have happened. Some of our competing media outlets were actually running interviews that seemed to suggest one of the suspects in this heinous murder is a victim and that his body should be returned to the country that booted him back to Jamaica.

It was stunning and disturbing. They can offer it up but we don't have to sign on. Former Toronto Police chief William McCormack, who attended Leimonis' funeral, sure as heck hasn't.

'ROTTEN LITTLE BASTARD'

"That rotten little bastard?" was his reaction to allowing Grant back on Canadian soil. "It's ridiculous. He dishonoured this country! That's why he was deported. Why should they let him back in?"

As usual, the chief has nailed it right on. Good riddance to Grant!

Imagine trying to pass him off as a good guy trying to turn his life around.

Well, if you want to be sure who the real victim was on April 5, 1994, take a drive out to Scarborough's Pine Hills Cemetery. If you can't, click on to torontosun.com's video section and you will see the result of murder first hand -- and an important reminder that this heinous theft of a young person's life did happen in our city.

In Section 15 of the cemetery, not too far from the Birchmount Rd. entrance, you will see a black cross gravestone with the name Georgina "ViVi" Leimonis. Below is the quote: "You were taken from us much before your time."

There's your victim. This 23-year-old innocent young woman who never hurt anybody was gunned down in cold blood by two shotgun blasts while sitting at a table inside the Just Desserts cafe on Davenport Rd.

"She did nothing wrong," said her friend and neighbour Lina Chrissipoulou. "This really hurt the Greek community. She had her whole life ahead of her."

The gutless killing shocked the whole community

"I will never forget the funeral," McCormack said. "It was so sad seeing her in that open white casket in a wedding gown."

Yes, years before there was disgust and outrage over the cowardly shootout that claimed 15-year-old Jane Creba on Yonge St., people were devastated by this despicable robbery in which several men were charged and later convicted. One was acquitted.

His name was O'Neil Grant and Canada's justice system worked for him. A jury did not find him guilty. And that's where the sympathy for him ends. He was ordered deported back to his native Jamaica for drug trafficking and assault with a weapon two years before Leimonis was murdered.

KNOWN AS 'TIGER'

Another criminal conviction for a bad cheque followed. Sun files indicate that by the time he was 21, Grant had been charged with 17 crimes. The immigration appeal board ruled, "O'Neil Rohan Grant should be removed from Canada for the safety of the Canadian public."

With or without the Leimonis acquittal, Canada was just fine without Grant, who came here as a 12-year-old and was known on the street as "Tiger." He eventually got sent packing in 2002. Then word came from Jamaica last week that he had been murdered -- shot twice after being approached by two men who police say targeted him in a rough part of Kingston. It was not the first time O'Neil had been shot.

Sun files show he was struck by a bullet in the abdomen in 2001.

His own family is understandably grief- stricken. But everyone knows what kind of road this guy travelled. The way things were presented in competing media outlets yesterday, you'd think he should have been given the Order of Canada instead of the deportation order.

"The whole saga of O'Neil Grant is one of cruelty and unfairness," defence counsel Heather McArthur told The Toronto Star and AM 640.

If you want to see cruelty and unfairness, Ms. McArthur, go take a look at ViVi's burial plot. Go and talk to her family and explain what a great guy your client is.

When it comes to poor O'Neil Grant, it seems it's everyone else's fault. It's unfortunate he died but it takes an awful lot of gall to try to get this community to feel sorry for the criminal, who police sources tell me was well known to them.

It was outrageous to try to sell this man's demise as Canada's fault. And it was insensitive to the Leimonis family because the truth is, victims never stop being victimized.

"We just don't want to comment on it," ViVi's brother Tom said yesterday, the anguish clear in his voice.

He took the high road the Leimonis family always has.

The low road was taken by those pushing the "cry me a river show." There are still some of us around who remember this story and won't let them do that to ViVi.

"She lives in our memories," said Lina, who pains every time she sees ViVi's suffering mother Angela.

"ViVi was a beautiful, beautiful person. Even though she is gone, she is all around us and the community misses her."

Yesterday may have been the day for O'Neil Grant's friends to push their crazy agenda to have him shipped home. But today, and every day, should be ViVi Leimonis' time to be remembered.


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