News / Canada

Accused Edmonton attacker to enter plea at next court date in March

The man is facing 11 charges in relation to a knife attack on a police officer, as well as an incident where a speeding van hit and injured four pedestrians in downtown Edmonton.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is shown in an Edmonton Police Service handout photo. He is facing 11 charges related to an attack on a police officer in Edmonton.

The Canadian Press / Edmonton Police Service

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif is shown in an Edmonton Police Service handout photo. He is facing 11 charges related to an attack on a police officer in Edmonton.

EDMONTON — A man accused of attempted murder in a knife attack on an Edmonton police officer will enter a plea at his next court date in mid-March.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif, 30, was in provincial court to face 11 charges related to a Sept. 30 attack on a police officer outside a football game. Some of the charges also stem from a speeding cube van that hit and injured four pedestrians in downtown Edmonton hours after the police officer was attacked.

Court heard an assessment on whether Sharif could be found not criminally responsible was still not complete.

Chief Crown prosecutor Shelley Bykewich told Judge Donna Rae Valgardson that some next steps should occur in the case.

"The initial mental health assessment was ordered on Nov. 14," she said in court. "There's been a second order that occurred in January."

Bykewich said she spoke to the doctor conducting the assessment and he has indicated he needed more time, partly because of a lack of resources and partly due to the need to arrange an interpreter for another interview with Sharif.

Defence lawyer Karanpal Aujla said the case is proceeding slowly, but said they need all the information before his client enters a plea.

"It is important to determine as to what our next steps would be," Aujla said outside court. "For us to do that, the NCR (not criminally responsible) assessment is an important piece as that would definitely impact on how we would proceed with the matter."

To be not criminally responsible, the assessment has to determine the person had a mental disorder that made it impossible for them to understand the nature and quality of what they did, or understand what they did was morally wrong.

The case has been put over to March 14 after the judge agreed that it would be beneficial to have the assessment in hand.

"On the next occasion, there should be an election and plea," said Valgardson.

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