Bed shortage means no mental reviews done yet on accused Edmonton attacker

A man accused of attempted murder after a police officer was hit by a car and stabbed is still waiting for psychiatric assessments due to a critical bed shortage at an Alberta mental hospital.

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif was charged after a speeding car drove through a barrier at a Canadian Football League game in Edmonton on Sept. 30 and hit a police officer.

The driver got out, pulled out a large knife and began stabbing Const. Mike Chernyk.

Four pedestrians were hit and injured hours later when the driver of a cube van with police cars in pursuit sped down Jasper Avenue, one of Edmonton’s main streets. Sharif is also charged with dangerous driving.

Sharif, who was approved for two psychiatric assessments, appeared in court Wednesday on a closed-circuit camera from the Edmonton Remand Centre.

Court heard that he has yet to be seen because there is a critical bed shortage at Alberta Hospital.

“Due to the bed shortage at the hospital where they conduct the forensic assessments, they weren’t able to accommodate Mr. Sharif to conduct the criminal responsibility assessment yet,” his lawyer, Karanpal Aujla, said outside court. “It is somewhat concerning, considering the circumstances.

“I’d rather have them do an assessment that is properly done and well-detailed without rushing.”

Sharif was scheduled to be seen by doctors on Thursday, although Alberta Health Services has asked for an additional 30 days to complete the assessments.

He is to appear in court again on Jan. 12.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had the lawyer’s last name spelling incorrectly.

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