Crown appeals Kachkar review board decision

Above: Christine Russell, wife of fallen Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell, reacts to the review board’s decision.

TORONTO – The Crown is appealing a decision to allow into the community a man who was found not criminally responsible for killing a Toronto police officer with a snowplow.

Richard Kachkar is being detained in the Ontario Shores psychiatric hospital in Whitby, Ont., following a decision by the Ontario Review Board.

The board manages the cases of people found not criminally responsible and at annual hearings decides what level of supervision they need.

Kachkar, 46, was found not criminally responsible earlier this year in the January 2011 death of Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, who was killed when Kachkar hit him with a stolen snowplow.

Kachkar’s lawyer and the Crown had jointly recommended that Kachkar be allowed to walk the grounds of the hospital while escorted by staff, and the board went a step further and said he should be able to enter the community while escorted.

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Decisions of the review board can be appealed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

Review boards have the power to order a person found not criminally responsible detained in a hospital or release them either with or without conditions.

Absolute discharges are not granted until the board is satisfied the person no longer poses a significant threat to public safety.

Kachkar still poses a significant threat, the board said in reasons released a month after its decision. But letting him go into the community on an escorted basis, if the hospital feels it’s appropriate, does not pose such a threat, it said.

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