Case against paramedics go­ing ahead with rare in­dict­ment

There will be no preliminary hear­ing in prece­dent-setting case

The Standard (St. Catharines) - - Local - NI­COLE O’REILLY

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.

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