Jury selected in vehicle attacks on Edmonton police officer, pedestrians
Abdulahi Sharif faces five counts of attempted murder
A jury of seven men and seven women was chosen Monday morning to hear the attempted-murder trial of Abdulahi Sharif.
Sharif is charged with five counts of attempted murder.
Exactly two years ago today, Const. Mike Chernyk, who was on duty outside an Edmonton Eskimos football game at Commonwealth Stadium, was hit by a vehicle.
The Edmonton police officer was also stabbed, but survived the attack.
A few hours later, a cube van being pursued by police injured four pedestrians in downtown Edmonton.
More than 500 people were called to the Edmonton courthouse Monday morning to report for jury duty. One by one, they were asked the same three pre-approved questions:
- Would your ability to judge the evidence in this case without bias, prejudice or partiality be affected by the fact that the accused is Somali and/or Muslim?
- Have you heard or read anything about the accused Abdulahi Hassan Sharif or this case in the media, on social media or on the internet?
- If yes, would you be able to set aside that information and judge this case solely on the basis of the evidence presented at trial and the instructions of the trial judge?
It took only an hour to pick the jurors. No peremptory challenges were used.
Of the 14 jurors selected, six had heard about the case through media coverage. All promised they would be able to set that information aside and concentrate only on the evidence presented during the six-week trial.
After the jury was sworn in, Sharif entered not guilty pleas to the eleven criminal charges he faces. During the arraignment, he stood in the prisoner's box wearing orange coveralls with his arms folded, an interpreter by his side.
The trial is scheduled to begin Wednesday morning and wrap up Nov. 8.
More than 40 witnesses could be called to testify.