Crown to oppose bail for teen accused in Calgary police officer’s death

CALGARY — A Calgary Crown prosecutor told a judge on Monday he will be opposed to the release of a 17-year-old charged with the murder of a Calgary police officer.

The 17-year-old — who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act — along with 19-year-old Amir Abdulrahman is charged with the first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Sgt. Andrew Harnett, who was killed while conducting a traffic stop in the community of Falconridge on New Year’s Eve.

Crown prosecutor Doug Taylor said he plans to oppose the release of the youth out of concern for public safety.

A bail hearing is scheduled for Jan. 19.

The 17-year-old accused called into the hearing by phone. He is being held in isolation at the Calgary Remand Centre where there are ongoing concerns of COVID-19, so he can appear at the hearing in-person.

The teen, along with Abdulrahman turned himself in to police Friday afternoon.

Police say Harnett pulled an SUV over just before 11 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020 as the plates didn’t match. The vehicle then allegedly struck the officer and he was dragged. Harnett was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later. 

Police allege the younger of the two accused was the driver, and Abdulrahman was a passenger.

Abdulrahman has retained high-profile defence lawyer Balfour Der. He also called in to his brief court hearing by phone Monday. 

Outside court, Der said he understands there is a lot of public interest in this case.

“My approach to this case is what I would do with other cases, and that is I look at it strictly from a legal point of view, from client’s interest,” said Der.

“They’ve asked me to look after their legal interests in court, which is my job in the system and so I assess what is there and I give them advice based on that as to what steps may or may not be available to them.”

Abdulrahman’s case has been adjourned for a month so Der can review the police file. He said it’s too early to speak on whether he will be seeking bail for his client.

Der said a warrant was also out for Abdulrahman for a common assault and missing several court appearances.

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