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Trial begins for 2 Hamilton paramedics charged in death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi

Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot in December 2017 near a Hamilton mosque. Brock Student Justice Centre

The trial of two paramedics charged with failing to provide the necessities of life to an injured 19-year-old Hamilton man started on Tuesday.

The case involving Steve Snively, of Hamilton, and Christopher Marchant, of Whitby, in Ontario’s Superior Court on Main Street West is expected to last four to five weeks.

The pair were charged in 2018 after the death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi outside a Hamilton mosque near Main and Sanford streets in December 2017.

Al-Hasnawi was shot while trying to help an older man who was being accosted by two other men, according to a Special Investigations Unit report released in April 2019.

Read more: 2 Hamilton paramedics charged with failing to provide necessaries of life after Good Samaritan dies

The report said a police officer requested an ambulance after reporting a “man down,” with the officer allegedly telling dispatchers a “BB gun” was possibly involved and that the victim had “minor injuries superficial to the abdomen.”

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A total of 63 civilian witnesses were interviewed by the SIU, with “very few” hearing an actual shot, according to the report.

Several witnesses told the SIU they saw Al-Hasnawi on the ground with an apparent injury, but only one witness indicated he believed the victim “had actually been shot by a real firearm,” according to the report.

Other witnesses went on to tell the SIU that the responding paramedics accused Al-Hasnawi of exaggerating the extent of his injuries, alleging they took too long to treat him and take him to hospital, the report said.

Read more: Hamilton man ‘not-guilty’ in death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi

In a post-mortem examination, a forensics pathologist concluded Al-Hasnawi’s cause of death was “a penetrating gunshot wound of the abdomen complicated by massive blood loss,” according to the SIU report.

Snively was arrested on Aug. 1, 2018, and Marchant was arrested the following day. Both men were released on a promise to appear.

Snively and Marchant also lost their jobs that month, according to OPSEU Local 256 president Mario Posteraro, who told Global News the two were fired by the City of Hamilton.

Just after the firing, Posteraro said the action was “harsh and unjust.” He said the City of Hamilton could have taken other actions while the case made its way through the court process.

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Read more: 2 Hamilton paramedics charged after Good Samaritan died have been fired: union

In late 2019, the man accused of killing Al-Hasnawi, Dale Burningsky King, was acquitted by a jury.

King had been charged with second-degree murder.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old James Matheson, who was also charged in connection with the shooting, is out on probation after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice charges in 2018.

—With files from Lisa Polewski