Canada: Alberta justice minister weighs in on Abdulahi Sharif trial - - PressFrom - Canada

Canada Alberta justice minister weighs in on Abdulahi Sharif trial

22:50  26 october  2019
22:50  26 october  2019 Source:

Closing arguments: Crown says accused in Edmonton attack meant to cause chaos

  Closing arguments: Crown says accused in Edmonton attack meant to cause chaos EDMONTON — A Crown prosecutor says a man accused of stabbing an Edmonton police officer and striking four pedestrians with a van went to extraordinary lengths to cause as much "chaos, destruction and indiscriminate death" as possible. The Crown is delivering a closing statement today to a Court of Queen's Bench jury at the trial for Abdulahi Hasan Sharif. Sharif, who is 32, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges, which include five courts of attempted murder, aggravated assault against the police officer and dangerous driving.

Doug Schweitzer© Jason Franson Doug Schweitzer Alberta's justice minister is under fire from some in the legal community for a controversial tweet.

Doug Schweitzer weighed in on Friday's guilty verdict for Abdulahi Sharif, the man who attacked four pedestrians and a police officer in Edmonton two years ago.

"Glad to see that justice has been served, with the criminal having been found guilty of all 11 charges," tweeted Schweitzer. "Thank you to all the law enforcement officials and prosecutors involved for their hard work. I hope this will help to deter other such heinous acts."

Guilty verdict

A jury found Sharif guilty of trying to kill an Edmonton police officer and four pedestrians in a series of attacks two years ago.

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Sharif, 32, was convicted in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench Friday on all 11 charges he faced, including five counts of attempted murder. He was also found guilty on four counts of flight from police causing bodily harm and one count of aggravated assault.

The jury found Sharif used his white Chevrolet Malibu as a weapon on the evening of Sept. 30, 2017 when his car slammed into Const. Michael Chernyk, who was on special traffic duty near Commonwealth Stadium during an Edmonton Eskimos game.

After Chernyk flew through the air and landed on his back, Sharif calmly strode toward him, pulled out a knife and began to stab the officer in the chest and head. Then he fled on foot.

The jury also decided Sharif intended to kill four pedestrians who were hit by a rented U-Haul van he drove through downtown Edmonton hours after the attack on Chernyk.

Man guilty of attempting to murder Edmonton police officer, 4 pedestrians

  Man guilty of attempting to murder Edmonton police officer, 4 pedestrians EDMONTON — A man who struck a police officer with a car before stabbing him multiple times outside an Edmonton football game has been found guilty of attempted murder. Jurors have also convicted Abdulahi Hasan Sharif of attempting to murder four pedestrians he hit with a van during a police chase in the city's downtown. Sharif, 32, has also been found guilty of aggravated assault against the officer, criminal flight causing bodily harm and dangerous driving. He had pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges in the Sept. 30, 2017, attack. The three-week trial heard from about 40 Crown witnesses.

Hours after the conviction on Friday, Alberta's justice minister entered the fray.

Jordan Stuffco, head of the Alberta Criminal Trial Lawyers' Association, said elected officials weighing in on verdicts is inappropriate.

"Would a minister of justice or prime minister or a premier congratulate an accused on an acquittal? Absolutely not," Stuffco said in an interview with CBC.

He's asking Schweitzer to avoid opining publicly on court cases in the future.

Sentencing to come

Others are going further.

"It's very offensive. He should resign," said Tom Engel, a lawyer who briefly represented Sharif pre-trial.

With Sharif yet to go through sentencing, Engel said Schweitzer's tweet may make it look like he's asking for harsh penalties.

"He has to act dispassionately," Engel said.

CBC reached out to the justice ministry for comment. It responded by reissuing the tweet in an email.

Edmonton police budget taking $5M hit due to Alberta budget .
The police service didn't give any details on how it would make up for the funding shortfall. Immediately following the tabling of the budget, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson cancelled a planned trip to Holland so he could work with councillors and city staff to fully understand the impacts the budget's "broken promises" would have on the city.The Calgary Police Service also said this week it was taking a hit of about $10 million as a result of the government's decision to take more ticket revenue from the city, as well as having to pay for casework and training officers on cannabis enforcement.

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