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Crown to seek adult sentence for teen charged in hit-and-run death of Calgary officer

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CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will seek an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death.

Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old suspect.

The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so he cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV on New Year's Eve, after noticing plates on the vehicle did not match its registered description. Paramedics and fellow officers hastened to the scene in minutes and tried to revive the 37-year-old but he died in hospital nearly an hour later.

Police said a second unrelated vehicle was also involved and may have come into contact with Harnett on the road. But that driver stayed at the scene and helped with the investigation.

Investigators allege the youth was driving the SUV and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger.

"I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court.

An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, an adult convicted of first-degree murder would serve a life sentence without any possibility of parole for 25 years.

Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody.

A publication ban prohibits publishing evidence from the bail hearing, which is to continue Wednesday.

The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12.

Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021

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Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press