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ORB hears case of cop killer Richard Kachkar

Richard Kachkar watches Friday at his trial a video of himself being interviewed by police shortly after Sgt. Ryan Russell was killed by a stolen snowplow he was driving. CITYNEWS/Marianne Boucher

The widow of a slain police officer will find out on Monday whether the man who killed him will be sent to a mental hospital.

Richard Kachkar, 46, found not criminally responsible for Sgt. Ryan Russell’s death, had a hearing before the Ontario Review Board (ORB) on Friday.

Both Kachkar’s lawyer and the Crown attorney agree he should be sent to the Ontario Shores Centre in Whitby.

Read our coverage of Richard Kachkar’s case.

Last month, a jury found Kachkar was mentally disturbed and couldn’t appreciate what he was doing when he drove a snowplow into Russell, 35, on Jan. 12, 2011.

The five-member review board, including doctors and lawyers, will decide whether to send Kachkar, who remains in custody, to Ontario Shores or release him into the community.

If he’s sent to the hospital the ORB will review his case every year and only release him if it concludes he’s no threat to the public.

At the hearing, Russell’s widow Christine told the board about arriving at the hospital where he died.

“They physically restrained me — It was a crime scene and I couldn’t kiss him goodbye,” she said.

“I was told the guy who murdered him was shot and in the hospital too. I hoped he would die of his injuries. They were trying to save his life and my Ryan was dead.

“He has caused us a lifetime of damage. He stole a father from an innocent child.”

Russell’s father Glenn, Christine’s parents and a Toronto police sergeant also gave victim impact statements.

After the March 27 verdict, Christine said that there was no closure for her because she would have to “fight this for the rest of my life” on a yearly basis before a review board.

She said she’d lobby hard for the federal government’s proposed Bill C-54.

The federal government is considering changes to the Criminal Code that would affect those found not criminally responsible.

Under the new legislation, those convicted could be given a “high-risk” designation. It would be more difficult for offenders to obtain day passes from mental health facilities, and would allow more influence from victims — or the families of victims — during review hearings.

Review boards could also wait longer — three years, up from one — to reconsider discharge applications.

With files from The Canadian Press