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2 Hamilton paramedics guilty for their roles in teen’s death get 18 months in community

Steven Snively, Christopher Marchant guilty of failing to provide necessaries of life to Yosif Al-Hasnawi

Photo du jeune Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19 ans, qui a été tué par balle à Hamilton le 2 décembre 2017.

Yosif Al-Hasnawi, 19, was shot and killed in Hamilton on Dec. 2, 2017.

Photo: Al-Mostafa Islamic Centre


Two Hamilton paramedics found guilty for failing to provide the necessaries of life in the 2017 shooting death of 19-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi have been sentenced to 18 months to be served in the community.

Steven Snively, 55, and Christopher Marchant, 32 cannot leave their homes except for medical emergencies during the first six months, Ontario Superior Court Justice Harrison Arrell says in his decision released Tuesday.

After the first six months, the men will have a curfew of 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. the judge said. They also have to complete 150 hours of community service during the last year of their sentence.

Al-Hasnawi, often referred to as a Good Samaritan, was shot outside the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre after trying to intervene as two people accosted an older man. Al-Hasnawi died of a single gunshot wound.

Steven Snively, 55, and Christopher Marchant, 32 were found guilty in June.

The ground-breaking case (new window) marked the first time paramedics in Canada were found guilty for their part in someone's death as a result of their actions while working. Experts have said it may change how emergency responders do their job in the future.

They testified during their trial that they thought Al-Hasnawi had been shot with a BB or pellet gun, but it was actually a.22-calibre handgun.

Al-Hasnawi died an hour after the shooting because he was bleeding internally.

Arrell found the now-fired paramedics listened to rumours and innuendos at the scene about the wound being superficial.

He also ruled Snively's and Marchant's actions that night amounted to a marked departure from the minimum standard expected of properly trained paramedics. He also found they made numerous mistakes, including not leaving the scene fast enough, going to the wrong hospital, not following protocol for penetrating wounds and lifting him dangerously.

Al-Hasnawi recites the Qur'an during a religious ceremony shortly before he got into an altercation outside the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre, and was shot and killed.

Al-Hasnawi recites the Qur'an during a religious ceremony shortly before he got into an altercation outside the Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre, and was shot and killed.

Photo: Al-Mustafa Islamic Centre

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Manishen had argued they should receive no jail time and instead face a conditional sentence of six to nine months, followed by probation and 100 community service hours.

The Crown said the two men should each be incarcerated for 2½ years.

Assistant Crown attorney Linda Shin read victim impact statements from Al-Hasnawi's family members during the sentencing hearing, including one from his mother, Amal Alzurufi. 

I don't hate you. I'm just mad  … he didn't deserve to die like this, it said.

Nothing is more painful than losing a child. It feels like someone has ripped your heart out of your chest.

Shin said during the hearing that the prosecution had proved the paramedics caused Al-Hasnawi's death and the judge should consider manslaughter among other aggravating factors in sentencing.

They weren't charged with that offence. However, the Criminal Code allows for an uncharged offence to be considered in some situations.

Manishen argued that if the prosecution wants to consider manslaughter, it should have been put on the indictment and the prosecution should have argued it during trial, calling it fundamentally unfair for it to be considered later.

Lawyers for both Snively and Marchant read from letters of support for their clients during the sentencing hearing and said they are first-time offenders with good families.

They've also argued the stigma of the public trial has had an impact on both men.

Manishen had said be believed incarceration should be a last resort.

What happened in December 2017 was out of character for Mr. Marchant, he told Arrell in late October.

The Crown argued the paramedics showed up with pre-conceived notions about Al-Hasnawi's injuries.

But Manishen responded they were only working on the information they received from dispatch, noting the scene was described as dark and chaotic.

Dan Taekema (new window) · CBC News with files from Bobby Hristova