Richard Kachkar found not criminally responsible
How many times has this happened in Canada?
http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2013/ ... death.htmlA mentally ill man who ran barefoot in the snow and stole a snowplow to go on a two-hour rampage, killing a Toronto police officer, has been foundnot criminally responsible.
The jury of six men and six women, which began deliberations Monday afternoon, found Richard Kachkar, 46, not criminally responsible Sgt. Ryan Russell’s death by way of mental illness early this afternoon.
Russell’s widow, Christine, sat in the front row beside Glenn, his father. She hung her head before and after the verdict.
Both Crown and defence had agreed Kachkar drove through the city core, smashing into cars, shattering the glass doors of a Maserati dealership and hitting Russell with the snowplow on Avenue Rd. early on a snowy Jan. 12, 2011.
Defence lawyers Bob Richardson and Indira Stewart tried to prove that, on the legally required “balance of probabilities,” Kachkar was not criminally responsible due to his mental illness.
For their part, Crown prosecutors Christine McGoey and Jessica Smith Joy argued although he was mentally ill, Kachkar knew what he was doing was wrong and was therefore guilty of murder. Further, because he knew the uniformed Russell was a police officer, Kachkar is guilty of first-degree murder, they said.
They argued he deliberately drove the snowplow at Russell to kill him or cause enough injuries that death would likely result.
Alternatively, according to the Crown, Kachkar is guilty of murder because he drove at Russell in a dangerous manner to evade arrest and, although he may not have meant to kill him, foresaw the likelihood of Russell’s death.
The defence argued Kachkar showed classic signs of mental deterioration in the weeks before the homicide. He was living in a homeless shelter in St. Catharines, estranged from his wife and two children. He took a bus to Toronto and stayed with friends, raising their concern over his erratic behavior. He sought medical help from a Regent Park doctor for his mental torment the day before, they pointed out.
Richardson argued that if the jury found Kachkar was criminally responsible, it should only find him guilty of manslaughter, because he never intended to kill the officer.
The Crown argued, on the contrary, that although he showed signs of mental illness in December 2010 and January 2011, he was able to make rational decisions and plan for the future. His behavior during the two-hour snowplow joyride, in which he deftly manoeuvred the large truck and yelled at passersby, is consistent with a man seeking attention or a sense of power, McGoey said.
Throughout the trial, Kachkar has sat staring straight ahead impassively, scarcely appearing to watch the witnesses.