Man charged in Edmonton U-Haul rampage will go to trial
After undergoing two psychiatric assessments, the man charged in the September 2017 Edmonton attacks will go to trial.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is charged with five counts of attempted murder and dangerous driving in an attack on an Edmonton police officer. Four people were injured when they were hit with a U-Haul truck.
On Wednesday, the Crown added another charge — aggravated assault — in connection with the attack on the police officer.
The case was delayed a month because at his last court date in February, Sharif had yet to undergo his second mental health assessment at Alberta Hospital. He has since been assessed and doctors determined mental health issues did not leave him “not criminally responsible (NCR)” at time of the Sept. 30 offence.
“Essentially he has been deemed fit to stand trial,” defence lawyer Karanpal Aujla said. “So essentially we move on to the next step, depending on what that may be. It will be decided in some short little while. As of right now, we have waived the prelim at the provincial court and elected the matter to go to [Court of] Queen’s Bench with judge alone.”
The trial is scheduled to begin May 4 at the Edmonton courthouse.
Aujla said he was surprised by the doctor’s decision, saying the assessment was quite thorough and, in his opinion, found “substantial mental health issues.”
“However, the test required for NCR is quite, quite high and the mental health issues that were found don’t necessarily raise to the level for him to be NCR. But I was definifely surprised because I thought there would be significant mental health issues,” Aujla said.
Sharif’s first psychiatric assessment, carried out in December and January, determined he was fit to stand trial as he could understand the legal proceedings and give directions to his lawyer.
Sharif, who was being treated at Alberta Hospital during the assessments, will be moved back to the Remand Centre.
Sharif was charged after a series of events on Sept. 30. It started when a speeding car rammed through a police barrier directing traffic for an Edmonton Eskimo game, sending Edmonton Police Service Const. Mike Chernyk flying five metres through the air. The driver got out of the Chevrolet Malibu and began stabbing the officer.
A few hours later in downtown Edmonton, four pedestrians were hit and injured by a U-Haul cube van being pursued by police on Jasper Avenue. The incident ended when the van crashed.
Sharif is a Somali refugee who came to Canada in 2012 and had been on police radar for a few years. He is married and his wife lives in Africa. He has no dependent children in his care.
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