Mental health of man accused in Edmonton attack to be assessed

A man facing five counts of attempted murder after a police officer was hit with a car and stabbed by an assailant is to undergo two psychiatric assessments.

 A judge agreed with Abdulahi Hasan Sharif’s lawyer Tuesday that Sharif’s mental health must be reviewed.

One test will determine if the 30-year-old is mentally fit to stand trial. He must be able to understand the legal proceedings and to give directions to his lawyer.

“If the determination comes back that he’s not fit, then the matter is adjourned essentially until such time as he’s deemed to be fit,” Sharif’s lawyer, Karanpal Aujla said outside court.

Sharif was charged after a speeding car rammed through a barrier at an Edmonton Eskimo game on Sept. 30 and sent  Const. Mike Chernyk flying five metres through the air.

The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing the officer.

Hours later, four pedestrians were hit and injured by a cube van being pursued by police on Jasper Avenue,

A second test will be to determine whether Sharif should be found not criminally responsible due to his state of mind at the time of the alleged attacks.

Aujla told reporters he has met with Sharif and “he appears like a normal guy to me.”

But the defence lawyer said based on information from those close to the accused and from the disclosure provided by the Crown, “It appears to me that there certainly may be issues that pertain to mental health.”

Sharif is scheduled to appear in court again on Dec. 13.

An Islamic State flag was found in the car used in the attack, but no terrorism charges have been laid against Sharif.

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