Loading articles...

Lawyer calls Kachkar 'psychotic' in closing arguments

The lawyer for a man who ran down and killed a Toronto police officer with a snowplow says his client was clearly psychotic.

In closing arguments, lawyer Bob Richardson said Richard Kachkar had shown signs of a major mental disorder for years.

Read our full coverage of the Kachkar trial

The 44-year-old Kachkar is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Ryan Russell two years ago.

But Richardson said Kachkar was clearly incapable of forming the necessary criminal intent and therefore not criminally responsible for killing Russell.

He cited psychiatric and other “uncontradicted” evidence of Kachkar’s increasingly bizarre behaviour.

If the jury decides he was criminally responsible, Richardson said, they should then return a verdict of manslaughter.

Kachkar pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

The judge has already told the jury that there is “no doubt” Kachkar was driving the stolen plow on Jan. 12, 2011, when it hit and killed Russell, 35.

Three psychiatrists testified at the trial that they believe Kachkar was psychotic at the time he killed Russell.

Kachkar’s trial has heard that as he drove the stolen snowplow wildly around the streets of Toronto for two hours that morning, he was yelling about the Taliban, Chinese technology and microchips in his body.

“He was suffering at the time from a severe mental disorder. He was psychotic,” Richardson told jurors.

“He was not able to appreciate the nature and quality of his actions.”

Kachkar, who had travelled to Toronto from St. Catharines, Ont., where he had been living in a shelter, was separated from his wife, court heard.

His father also showed similar symptoms of mental illness, Richardson said.

The lawyer pointed out how several people who had contact with Kachkar were concerned about his mental health.

He exhibited “tangential thinking,” frequently going off topic and making it impossible to have a proper conversation with him.

One person talked about how Kachkar spent hours spinning a combination lock.

“They all said he was different,” Richardson said of people who knew the accused.

Even the psychiatrists who assessed him had difficulty trying to converse with him.

Shortly before the officer’s death, Kachkar told one man in a hushed voice “there were cameras all around.”

On the day before Russell died, Kachkar went to a clinic and said he was “scared,” but couldn’t tell the doctor why, court heard.

The doctor testified he thought Kachkar’s fear was “genuine.”