Hamilton paramedics in court Monday, face charges in death of Yosif Al-Hasnawi
The trial for Steven Snively and Christopher Marchant is scheduled to start this week
Two paramedics charged in relation to the death of Good Samaritan Yosif Al-Hasnawi will be in court in Hamilton Monday for what is scheduled to be the start of their trial.
Snively, of Hamilton, and Marchant, of Whitby, were Hamilton paramedics on the night of Dec. 2, 2017. They were called to the area of Sanford and Main streets around 9 p.m., where 19-year-old Al-Hasnawi had been shot once in the abdomen.
Al-Hasnawi had been attending a religious ceremony at a mosque. He stepped out for a break and saw two men accosting a vulnerable older man. He called out to the pair, who crossed the street, and had a tense conversation with them. The pair ran, a Hamilton court heard in November, after one flashed a gun at Al-Hasnawi, and Al-Hasnawi chased them.
Dale King fired a hollow-point bullet from a .22 calibre Derringer. A jury recently found King not guilty of second-degree murder by reason of self defence.
Witnesses at the time said the bullet made a small hole, and paramedics and some spectators appeared to believe Al-Hasnawi had been shot with a BB gun. Witnesses say the paramedics appeared to be laughing and telling Al-Hasnawi he was overreacting.
From the time paramedics arrived on scene to Al-Hasnawi arriving at St. Joseph's Hospital, 38 minutes passed. Al-Hasnawi died around 10 p.m.
The city fired Snively and Marchant in 2018. The local paramedics union, OPSEU Local 256, has filed a grievance with the city.
Regarding the criminal charges, the Crown has bypassed a preliminary hearing and proceeded right to trial via a rare direct indictment.
Niagara police did the criminal investigation into the actions of first responders at the scene. Niagara police were called in to avoid a conflict of interest, since the investigation included Hamilton police.
Mario Posteraro, president of OPSEU Local 256, has said the charges have serious implications for Ontario's first responders.
"These precedent-setting criminal charges are game-changers for our paramedic profession," he said in 2018. "We are confident that when the totality of the evidence is provided, they will be vindicated."
The maximum sentence for failure to provide the necessaries of life is five years.