Two former Hamilton paramedics found guilty of failing to provide necessaries of life in 2017 death of 19-year-old

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Two former paramedics have been found guilty of failing to provide the necessaries of life in connection with the death of 19-year-old Yosif Al-Hasnawi, who was shot while trying to help a stranger outside a Hamilton mosque in 2017.

“Justice has been served,” Al-Hasnawi’s father Majed told CTV News Toronto Tuesday. “We have, now, confidence in our justice system, for us and for the whole society.”

Justice Harrison Arrell delivered the verdict Tuesday, saying that 55-year-old Steven Snively and 32-year-old Christopher Marchant had ignored their training on the day of the shooting.

The pair was dispatched to the downtown Hamilton scene Dec. 2, 2017; their legal counsel argued that they believed the teen had been shot with a BB or pellet gun, and that his injuries were not serious.

Al-Hasnawi had in fact been shot with a .22-calibre handgun.

“The key here, if I’m the judge overseeing this, is there was evidence, at least from the young man’s father, that paramedics were laughing, or at least making fun of the young man when he said ‘I can’t breathe,’” legal expert Ari Goldkind said Tuesday.

Prosecutors had argued that the paramedics should have treated the teen’s injuries more seriously given their training and the standards of their profession, though medical experts testified in court that the extent of the wound may not have been visible from the outside.

According to a Special Investigations Unit (SIU) report released in 2019, Al-Hasnawi arrived at the hospital 40 minutes after police were initially called. He died 10 minutes after that.

“He could have been alive,” Firas Al Najim, a friend of the Al-Hasnawi family, said after the ruling Tuesday.

“If they took the right steps, if they did their job the right way, if they moved fast like how they were instructed by the first responders and the 911 person who took the call.”

The union representing the now-former paramedics told CTV News Toronto in a statement that it was disappointed in the verdict.

“Justice Arrell’s decision could have a profound impact throughout the health care system,” said Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

But Al-Hasnawi’s younger brother Ahmed called the ruling a relief for his family.

“I feel like there’s a weight off my shoulders, me and my father’s shoulders,” he said.

Snively and Marchant have not yet been sentenced.