Article content

Mental health reports prepared after an Edmonton man ran over pedestrians and a police officer during an alleged terror attack five years ago could become part of civil proceedings against him.

Advertisement 2

Article content

While it remains unclear whether the reports on Abdulahi Hasan Sharif’s mental state will ever become public, they point to the still unanswered questions about why he committed the pair of vehicle attacks.

Sharif, 35, was arrested after using a car and a truck to run down a police officer and four pedestrians on Sept. 30, 2017. He first drove into Const. Mike Chernyk outside Commonwealth Stadium during a CFL game, then repeatedly stabbed him with a kitchen knife.

Sharif fled after Chernyk fought him off and reemerged later that night behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck, which he used to run down pedestrians along Jasper Avenue. A police tactical unit was eventually able to knock the truck on its side.

After a home-made ISIS flag was discovered in Sharif’s car, police officials described the crimes as acts of terrorism, though no terrorism charges were ever laid.

advertisement 3

Article content

A homemade ISIS flag recovered from the car driven by Abdulahi Sharif on Sept.  30, 2017.
A homemade ISIS flag recovered from the car driven by Abdulahi Sharif on Sept. 30, 2017.

In 2019, Sharif was sentenced to 28 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of five counts of attempted murder. He fired his lawyer prior to trial and did nothing to defend himself, remaining completely silent in front of the jury.

Trending on Canadian News  ECLAC reduces its growth estimate for Latin America in 2022 to 1.8%

Two mental health reports prepared shortly after his arrest — a fitness to stand trial assessment and a “not criminally responsible” (NCR) assessment — remain on file but never became part of the criminal case.

Postmedia attempted to obtain the reports as part of an investigation into Sharif but was unsuccessful because they were never made exhibits at trial.

On Monday, a lawyer for the Administrator of the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act sought access to the NCR and fitness reports as part of the civil proceedings against Sharif, who has been found in default.

advertisement 4

Article content

the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims program is designed to protect people injured by uninsured or unidentified drivers “by ensuring they have a place where they can sue and receive payment for their personal injuries.”

“Due to the uninsured or unknown nature of the at-fault drivers, these victims would often not be able to claim any damages for their injuries otherwise,” the program’s website states.

An undated photo of Abdullahi Hasan Sharif.
An undated photo of Abdullahi Hasan Sharif. Edmonton

Lawyer Brendan Carr said the administrator is effectively defending several personal injury claims on Sharif’s behalf. Four lawsuits were filed in connection with the attacks, two of which have been settled, he said.

As at his criminal trial, Sharif refused to participate in defending the claims. “We’ve been unsuccessful in getting any kind of cooperation from him,” Carr said.

advertisement 5

Article content

He told Justice Paul Belzil the reports could “shed some light” on Sharif’s mental state at the time of the collisions — adding the U-Haul rental contract Sharif signed excludes the company from liability in the case of intentional acts by a driver.

Trending on Canadian News  BC raises forest revenue sharing amounts for First Nations in reconciliation move

“Was he intending to hit pedestrians, or was this just a result of him trying to escape police?” Carr asked during Monday’s hearing. “We really don’t know his story about him, because he won’t talk to us.”

Belzil granted access to the documents. Carr said his client likely wo n’t share them with the other parties until more is known about their contents.

[email protected]

advertisement 1


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user follows comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your e-mail settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.