Muslim family seeks $10m for death of son, 2 paramedics charged

The victim Al-Hasnawi.

In an unprecedented case in Canada, two Hamilton paramedics have been arrested and charged with not providing quick first aid to 19-year-old Muslim youth Yosif Al-Hasnawi who died after shooting in December last year.

Yosif Al-Hasnawi was shot on December 2, 2017, while trying to help an older man who was being harassed by two men outside his mosque – the Al-Moustafa Islamic Centre – on Main Street East in Hamilton. He was taken to St Joseph’s Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Dale Burningsky King, 19, and James Matheson, 20, were arrested days after the incident and charged in the murder.

The victim’s father and two brothers filed a $10-million civil lawsuit in January against the paramedics, Hamilton Police and St Joseph’s Hospital for negligence which caused his death.

Now after a seven-month investigation during which investigators interviewed 60 witnesses, examined numerous documents, video and audio recordings and consulted with healthcare professionals, Hamilton Police have arrested and charged two paramedics who attended Al-Hasnawi. 

Paramedic Steven Snively, 53, of Hamilton was arrested on August 1, while paramedic Christopher Marchant, 29, of Whitby was arrested on August 2.

Both the paramedics are charged with failure to provide first aid to the victim and delay in transporting him to hospital. They were released and will appear appear in John Sopinka Courthouse in Hamilton on Sept 11.

Witnesses alleged that the paramedics did not take Al-Hasnawi’s injuries seriously, accusing him of faking and taking too long to treat him and transport him to hospital. 

The victim was admitted to hospital 38 minutes after the paramedics arrived. Al-Hasnawi was pronounced dead in hospital. He reportedly suffered a single gunshot to his stomach from a small-calibre handgun.

The president of the local paramedics’ union called the charges `game changers’ for the profession.

“These precedent-setting criminal charges are game changers for our paramedic profession. We are confident that when the totality of the evidence is provided, they will be vindicated,’’ said Mario Posteraro of OPSEU Local 256 Paramedics.

Pierre Poirier, executive director of The Paramedic Association of Canada, also said the charges were “unprecedented.”

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