March 27, 2013 2:46 pm

Analysis: Richard Kachkar found not criminally responsible

Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell is shown in an undated handout photo. A man who killed a Toronto police officer with a snow plow has been found not criminally responsible.The verdict means the jury believed Richard Kachkar, 46, couldn't appreciate what he was doing when he hit and killed 35-year-old Sgt. Ryan Russell because he was mentally ill. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Police Service

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Toronto Police Service

TORONTO – A jury decided Wednesday that Richard Kachkar was not criminally responsible for the death of Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell.

“You know what, these verdicts and these types of cases are few and far between,” Legal analyst Lorne Honickman said. “It’s obviously a very difficult thing for 12 people to be unanimous on, but this jury heard a lot of evidence.”

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Kachkar left the Good Sheppard shelter in January 2011 before stealing a snowplow from outside of a Tim Hortons and leading police on a chase through snow covered Toronto roads.

Russell tried to stop Kachkar but was struck and killed by the snowplow.

Three psychiatrists testified that they believe Kachkar was psychotic at the time of the incident.

“You can be mentally ill, you can have a disease of the mind but still appreciate the difference between right or wrong,” Honickman said. “The defense position was no, he couldn’t appreciate the difference.”

“There’s no winner or loser here. Mr. Kachkar will be kept in a psychiatric facility until he is deemed by a review board fit to go back into society, where he will not pose a risk to society.”

The federal government has recently proposed legislation – Bill C-54 – which could make it more difficult for people who had served time in a mental health facility to be released into the public.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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