Case against paramedics going ahead with rare indictment
There will be no preliminary hearing in precedent-setting case
Two fired Hamilton paramedics charged in the death of 19-yearold Yosif Al-Hasnawi are headed straight to trial after a rare direct indictment usually reserved for the most high-profile homicides.
The move, requested by the Crown and approved by the attorney general's office, means there will be no preliminary hearing in the precedent-setting case.
Steven Snively and Christopher Marchant were charged in August with failing to provide the necessaries of life following a nearly eight-month investigation led by Niagara police. They were fired soon after.
Al-Hasnawi was killed after being shot once in the abdomen on the evening of Dec. 2, 2017.
Witnesses, including Al-Hasnawi's father and brothers, allege the paramedics said the 19-yearold "Good Samaritan" was faking. Some believed he had been struck with a BB gun.
Mike DelGobbo, defence attorney for Snively, said he was notified of the surprising move by email earlier this week.
"It came out of nowhere," he said, adding that no reasons were given.
"The only time I've ever seen this is in high-profile murder cases," he said.
Direct indictments have happened in cases such as that of Dellen Millard and Mark Smich for the Tim Bosma and Laura Babcock murders, Michael Rafferty for the Tori Stafford murder, and for sex-killer Paul Bernardo.
Applications are thought to suggest the prosecution believes it has a strong likelihood of conviction, but can also reduce violations of publication bans, speed up hearings, spare witnesses from testifying twice and prevent the defence from knowing the Crown's strategy.
In this case, the move also means that the option to try the case in the Ontario Court of Justice is gone, meaning it must go to Superior Court, DelGobbo said.
He had just taken on the case at the end of November, and was still deciding how to proceed and awaiting full disclosure when he received the news.
Snively is "anxious to get on with the matter, hopeful everything will turn out well ... and go back to work," he said.
Prosecutor Joan Barrett, deputy director with the Crown law office at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, deferred questions to the Ministry of the Attorney General.
An attorney general spokesperson has not yet provided a response to questions.
Marchant's lawyer, Jeffery Manishen, declined comment.
On the night he was killed, Al-Hasnawi was taking a break from a religious celebration at the Al-Moustafa Islamic Centre on Main Street East near Wentworth Street South, when he noticed two men harassing a man on the street.
He yelled for them to stop and the two men turned their attention to Al-Hasnawi, who was with one of his brothers and a friend.
There was a confrontation with one of the men punching Al-Hasnawi, who gave chase. Running on Sanford Avenue South, one man turned and fired a single shot from a .22-calibre handgun.
One of two men charged,
James Matheson, pleaded guilty to obstructing justice and was sentenced to 13 months in October.
He is expected to be the prime witness when the alleged shooter, Dale King, goes to trial for second-degree murder.
DelGobbo noted that King, the only person to face a murder charge in the case, was allowed to have a preliminary hearing.
There is also an ongoing $10million lawsuit filed by the Al-Hasnawi family.
Yosif Al-Hasnawi in a undated family photo before his death on Dec. 2, 2017.