Abdulahi Hasan Sharif has been found guilty of all charges laid against him in the 2017 Edmonton attacks that saw a police officer stabbed and four pedestrians run down by a U-Haul van.
Sharif, 32, was charged with 11 offences, including five of attempted murder, four counts of criminal flight from police causing bodily harm, one count of aggravated assault and one count of dangerous driving.
The charges were in connection with the ramming and stabbing of Edmonton police Const. Mike Chernyk and a subsequent U-Haul rampage through downtown Edmonton in September 2017.
Sharif sat in the prisoner’s box showing very little emotion as he learned his fate in an Edmonton courtroom Friday morning. The decision came after less than 24 hours of deliberation by the jury.
“They had a very difficult task and a significant amount of evidence to go through over the past three weeks,” Chief Crown Prosecutor Shelley Bykewich said in a prepared statement outside court Friday.
“We thank them for their thoughtful deliberations in reaching their decisions.”
On Thursday morning, Justice Paul Belzil told the jury that it needed to approach two of the five attempted murder charges with a “great deal of caution.”
Belzil explained that it wasn’t enough for the Crown prosecutor to prove Sharif drove the vehicle that struck the five people, or that he wanted to hurt them. The Crown must prove Sharif intended to kill them.
Over the course of the three-week trial, several witnesses testified, including Chernyk and the four injured pedestrians.
Chernyk was working special duty outside the Edmonton Eskimos game on Sept. 30 when he saw lights approaching him. He told court that’s when he was hit by a car and sent flying through the air. His next memory was of someone being on top of him and feeling a burning sensation on his head, something he quickly realized was the pain from being stabbed by his attacker.
Chernyk described his attempts to fight off his attacker, all while trying to survive for his kids. He told the court he is a single parent to two children.
The four injured pedestrians told the court about their memories of being hit and how they coped with broken bones, anxiety and depression.
During closing arguments on Wednesday, Bykewich said Sharif was trying to cause “as much chaos, destruction and indiscriminate death as possible.”
Sharif did not retain his own legal counsel. During the trial, he did not testify in his own defence, nor did he call any witnesses.
Lawyer Greg Lazin was appointed by the court as an amicus curiea to assist Sharif by clarifying information or to raise potential legal issues.
Outside court Friday morning, Lazin said “it’s probably been one of the harder things I’ve done in 37 years of practice.
“It is extremely difficult to be completely neutral in any kind of file and as an amicus, you are not representing an accused, you are not taking an adversarial position. As such, what you’re doing is you’re trying to restore balance.”
Lazin said he has never even spoken to Sharif.
“I have been involved in cases where an accused person will refuse to participate. I have had situations where a convicted person refuses to participate in the creation of a pre-sentence report. However, I have not been involved with a case where there has been this level of non-participation,” he said.
“Every opportunity was given to Mr. Sharif to avail himself of the safeguards. The court can do no more than that.”
Lazin said he would not speak to whether there are grounds for appeal in this case, adding that decision would be up to Sharif.
Lazin said his next steps are to prepare a perspective on sentencing and attempt to engage Sharif in the process.
“I will attempt to engage,” he said. “I’m always hopeful.”
Sharif is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 12 and 13.
With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News and The Canadian Press.