Men­tal tests or­dered for sus­pect in Ed­mon­ton ve­hi­cle at­tacks

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION -

ED­MON­TON A man fac­ing sev­eral counts of at­tempted mur­der af­ter a po­lice of­fi­cer was hit with a car and stabbed by an as­sailant is to face two psy­chi­atric as­sess­ments.

The re­views are to de­ter­mine Ab­du­lahi Hasan Sharif’s men­tal state at the time of the at­tack and as he faces trial, his lawyer said Mon­day as his client ap­peared in an Ed­mon­ton court via video link.

“The in­for­ma­tion is ex­tremely pre­lim­i­nary at this mo­ment,” said Karan­pal Au­jla.

“How­ever, from the in­for­ma­tion I’ve been told and re­view of the ini­tial dis­clo­sure, it ap­pears to me that there cer­tainly may be is­sues that per­tain to men­tal health,” he added.

Sharif was charged af­ter a speed­ing car rammed through a bar­rier at a Cana­dian Foot­ball League game in Ed­mon­ton on Sept. 30 and sent an of­fi­cer fly­ing five me­tres through the air. The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and be­gan stab­bing Const. Mike Ch­ernyk.

Four pedes­tri­ans were hit and in­jured hours later by the driver of a cube van speed­ing away from po­lice cars in down­town Ed­mon­ton.

Ch­ernyk suf­fered stab wounds to the face and the head. He has re­turned to work and was hon­oured at CFL and Na­tional Hockey League games in the city. The other at­tack vic­tims are re­cov­er­ing from their in­juries.

A judge agreed with Sharif ’s lawyer that ini­tial ev­i­dence sug­gests the ac­cused’s men­tal health needs to be as­sessed.

Au­jla said ev­i­dence comes from ini­tial dis­clo­sure and a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who knows Sharif.

Au­jla has met with his client and said he ap­pears “like a nor­mal guy.”

No bail ap­pli­ca­tion will be made un­til the as­sess­ments are com­plete, the lawyer said.

“We prob­a­bly would want to see what hap­pens with the men­tal health as­sess­ment be­fore we pro­ceed.

“We are get­ting new in­for­ma­tion reg­u­larly. It’s a mov­ing pic­ture.”

Sharif, a 30-year-old Somali refugee, is to ap­pear in court again on Dec. 13.

An Is­lamic State flag was found in the car used in the at­tack, but no ter­ror­ism charges have been laid. Au­jla said po­lice are con­tin­u­ing their ter­ror­ism in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Sharif faces five counts of at­tempted mur­der, four counts of flee­ing an of­fi­cer caus­ing bod­ily harm, one count of dan­ger­ous driv­ing and one count of pos­ses­sion of a dan­ger­ous weapon.

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