A judge says she expects to deliver a sentence in September for a young man convicted of manslaughter in the hit-and-run death of a Calgary police officer.
Sgt. Andrew Harnett died after being dragged by an SUV, then falling into the path of an oncoming car on Dec. 31, 2020.
The offender, who is now 20, was days away from turning 18 when Harnett died and was driving the vehicle when it took off with the officer holding on to the wheel and trying to get him to stop.
He testified during his trial that he was scared when Harnett and another officer approached the vehicle during a traffic stop and he saw Harnett put his hand on his gun.
Court of King’s Bench Justice Anna Loparco found the young man not guilty of first-degree murder but guilty of manslaughter last year.
His defence lawyer, Zachary Al-Khatib, told Loparco on Wednesday that his client should serve seven and a half years in prison, minus credit for time served.
“The young person should have stopped the car,” he said in court. “The intention wasn’t to kill the officer with the car.”
Al-Khatib said his client turned himself in, convinced the passenger to turn himself in and showed remorse when he testified.
“He has shown he can act in a morally upright manner,” he said. “He does have rehabilitation potential.”
The young man, he added, can become a better person.
Crown prosecutor Mike Ewenson said the driver of the car should serve between 11 and 13 years.
“We’re not dealing with criminal flight,” he said. “We are dealing with manslaughter.”
Ewenson added that the offence is more culpable because it was the death of a police officer.
Loparco had earlier ruled that the young man would be sentenced as an adult, but she said Wednesday that the publication ban on his name was to remain in effect until the end of any appeal period.
The case is to return to court on Sept. 1 to set the date for the judge’s sentencing decision, which is expected to be one of two days later in the month.
Colette Derworiz, The Canadian Press