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Hamilton paramedics sentenced to 18 months in community for failing to provide necessaries of life

Two Hamilton police officers on scene near Main and Sanford Streets after 19-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot on Dec. 2, 2017. The two paramedics who failed to provide the necessaries of life to the teen were sentenced in a Hamilton, Ont. court on Tuesday Jan. 18, 2022. Global News

Two former Hamilton paramedics who failed to provide the necessaries of life to 19-year-old shooting victim Yosif Al-Hasnawi have been given an 18 month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

In a hearing on Tuesday, Justice Harrison Arrell gave Steve Snively and Christopher Marchant six months of house arrest followed by a curfew for the rest of the sentence plus 150 hours of community service.

The pair will be required to report to a supervisor and remain at their respective properties at all times for six months, with an exception for medical reasons. The pair are also allowed to attend employment or appointments with legal counsel.

Both will also be allowed to attend scheduled extracurricular activities involving their children with approval.

The curfew period of the sentence will be between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day, with some exceptions. The 150 hours of community service will be during the final 12 months of the order.

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The maximum penalty for the offence Snively and Marchant were guilty of is five years under the law, however during Arrell’s reading he didn’t accept that sentence since the pair did not directly cause Al-Hasnawi’s wound – determined to be life-threatening.

Read more: Hamilton paramedics guilty of failing to provide necessaries of life in death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi

He also rejected that the conduct of the pair directly caused the death of Al-Hasnawi, but did say breach of trust, failure to follow training and “impact on those closest to Yosif” were factors in the decision.

The Crown had been asking for two and half years of jail time, while the defence was seeking a six to nine month conditional sentence, plus probation and 100 hours of community service.

Lawyers for the defence cited job loss and media attention has had a negative effect on their employment and finances.

Snively and Marchant, who treated Al-Hasnawi on the night of Dec. 2, 2017, learned their fate eight months after a justice revealed his guilty decision in early June.

The judge-only trial lasted 33 days and heard testimony from numerous witnesses, experts and Al-Hasnawi’s family and friends.

At question was the conduct of the two paramedics after the victim was shot during an altercation on Sanford Avenue near Main Street East.

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The basis of the Crown’s case surrounded the actions of the accused, which were characterized as unprofessional and suggested failures in their treatment which endangered Al-Hasnawi’s life.

The teen was injured after he, his brothers and some friends confronted Dale King and another male who were allegedly accosting an older man not far from a central Hamilton mosque.

In reading the guilty verdict last June, Arrell concluded the pair failed to conclude that Al-Hasnawi suffered a penetrating wound to the abdomen, making it a “load-and-go situation of the highest emergency” requiring immediate transport to a trauma hospital.

The judge suggested the paramedics failed to “keep an open mind” and act according to minimum standards expected of any properly trained paramedic.

Arrell ruled that instead of following extensive training as professionals, they listened to “rumours and innuendo” around them at the scene that Al-Hasnawi had a superficial wound.

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“I conclude these failures by the accused were not simple inadvertence, thoughtlessness or simple error in judgment, but instead was a conscious decision to ignore the obvious evidence before them,” Arrell said in reading his decision.

During the trial, the Crown suggested that Marchant participated “in a dangerous lift” after surveillance video showed the paramedic and a Hamilton police officer lift Al-Hasnawi by his arms from the concrete sidewalk.

Read more: Hamilton paramedics to provide home care for ‘stable’ COVID-19 patients

The defence argued the paramedics had an “honest belief” that the victim was suffering from only a pellet gun wound and psychiatric issues, thus not seeing a need to rush the patient to a trauma centre.

A number of witnesses also alleged Snively and Marchant took too long to treat and take Al-Hasnawi to hospital.

The defendants insisted some of the delay was due to the patient’s “uncooperative and extremely combative” nature during treatment.

Arrell suggested otherwise, saying video shown in court appeared to show a patient lying on the sidewalk in a relatively “placid state.”

The two were found “jointly guilty” under Section 215(3) of the criminal code for failing to provide the necessaries of life.

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Despite characterizing Arrell’s decision as “a less harsher sentence,” the head of the paramedics union says “expert appellate counsel” has been retained to appeal the 18-month verdict.

“He will be moving this to a higher court,” said Mario Posteraro, President of OPSEU Local 256.

“So as much as the sentencing occurred today, this issue is still not fully concluded.”

 

 

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