Sharif found guilty of attempted murder, aggravated assault in 2017 attacks
EDMONTON -- The man accused of stabbing a police officer and hitting four people with a U-Haul truck in Edmonton two years ago is guilty of all charges against him including attempted murder, a jury ruled Friday.
Abdulahi Hasan Sharif faced 11 charges including attempted murder, aggravated assault, dangerous driving and dangerous driving causing bodily harm after the attacks took place on Sept. 30, 2017. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A jury ruled Sharif was guilty of attempted murder and aggravated assault against Edmonton police officer Const. Mike Chernyk.
During the trial, Chernyk testified that he was on-duty patrolling outside of an Edmonton Eskimos football game when a car driven by Sharif struck him. He said the next thing he remembered was Sharif stabbing him while he was on the ground.
Sharif was also found guilty of four counts of attempted murder against the four pedestrians struck by the van, and found guilty on four charges of criminal flight causing bodily harm.
Those four victims also testified during the trial, saying they were still dealing with the physical and psychological impact of being struck at the northwest corner of Jasper Avenue and 107 Street.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 12 and 13 at 9 a.m. Victim impact statements will be read at the hearing.
There was a bizarre moment in the courtroom after the verdicts were read when Sharif was asked to participate in a pre-sentence report.
"Mr. Sharif, it is very common in this court for anyone convicted of a very serious offence to ask for a pre-sentence report," Justice Paul Belzil told him. "It is my strong recommendation that you participate in the preparation of a pre-sentence report. It is also my strong recommendation that you speak to the amicus...about this issue and as I have told you repeatedly, any discussions you have....will be private and confidential.”
But Sharif said he would not cooperate with the report and did not wish to meet with the amicus.
Amicus Greg Lazin, who was not a party to the case but offered impartial advice, later spoke with reporters outside of court, saying working with Sharif was one of the hardest things he's done in 37 years of practice.
"Certainly I have been involved in cases where an accused person will refuse to participate. I have had situations where a convicted person refuses to participate in the creation of a pre-sentence report, however I have not been involved with a case where there has been this level of non-participation," he said.
Lazin said he did not speak with Sharif even once during the trial.
Sharif did not hire a lawyer and was representing himself in court, though he did not cross-examine any witnesses.
In closing arguments Thursday, a Crown prosecutor argued that Sharif aimed to cause as much chaos and destruction as he could when the attacks took place.
A court-appointed attorney gave a closing statement to the jury on Thursday, asking them to consider that the U-Haul may just have been Sharif's simplest method of escape.
The jury began deliberating Thursday and the verdict was read in court Friday. The trial lasted just over four weeks.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk