The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man who killed cop with snowplow 'not operating in our world' lawyer says

  • Print

TORONTO - A barefoot man who killed a police officer with a stolen snowplow after a bizarre rampage through the streets two years ago had clearly lost his grip on reality, his first-degree murder trial heard Thursday.

In closing submissions, defence lawyer Bob Richardson said Richard Kachkar could not be held criminally responsible given his delusional state.

"He lacked capacity to form criminal intent," Richardson told the jury.

"He wasn't operating in our world."

Dressed in light dress pants and shirt under a dark blazer, Kachkar, 46, listened impassively as his lawyer reprised the evidence of three psychiatrists, who concluded he was psychotic when he struck and left a dying Sgt. Ryan Russell, 35, bleeding in the snow.

Richardson reminded jurors how a shoeless Kachkar had bolted from a downtown shelter out into the snow on the early morning of Jan. 12, 2011.

"Whatever slim hold Mr. Kachkar may have had on reality, slips away," Richardson said.

"His psychotic beliefs are driving his behaviour."

Kachkar went to, and then fled, a nearby doughnut shop. He jumped into the idling snowplow. He drove erratically through the streets, making frequent U-turns, hitting cars and yelling about Chinese technology, the Taliban and microchips in his body.

"I don't remember. I was chased everywhere," Kachkar would later tell a police investigator.

"Where were you going?"

"Just running."

"What were you running from?"

"I don't know."

Richardson quoted Kachkar as saying at another point:

"I don't know what happened. It was like a dream or something. A normal person wouldn't do that. I don't know what's going on."

In fact, the lawyer told jurors, Kachkar had shown signs of a major mental disorder for years, a situation that became increasingly obvious in 2006 after his father died.

Several people who had contact with him in those years were concerned about his mental health.

"They all said he was different," Richardson said.

Kachkar, who had travelled to Toronto from St. Catharines, Ont., in the days before Russell's death, told one man in a hushed voice there were cameras all around, Richardson said.

On the day before Russell died, Kachkar went to a clinic, and said he was "scared," but couldn't say why although the doctor thought Kachkar's fear "genuine," court heard.

"Kachkar appeared panicked, crazed, scared," his arresting officer has testified.

"My sister made me do it," Kachkar told police. "This is my sister's fault."

Richardson said the three psychiatrists who assessed him extensively — one at the prosecution's request — were "uncontradicted" in their view that Kachkar was suffering full-blown psychosis when he went on his two-hour slow-speed rampage.

"He had completely lost touch with reality," Richardson said. "This case was a tragedy, but it's not a murder."

The lawyer said the psychiatrists had rejected any suggestion Kachkar was faking his symptoms or had acted in anger, as the prosecution has maintained.

If the jury does decide he was criminally responsible, Richardson said, they should convict him of manslaughter.

"Whichever route the prosecutor is trying to get to murder here, it doesn't stick. It doesn't fly," Richardson said.

"The Crown was trying to use logic in a situation that wasn't logical."

Kachkar didn't have time to form an intent to kill the officer in the seconds that passed after Russell stopped, got out of his cruiser, fired three shots and was hit by the plow, the lawyer said.

Court also saw dash-cam video that appears to show Kachkar missing from behind the wheel one second before he hit Russell, raising the question of whether he was ducking to avoid the officer's gunfire.

Richardson noted Kachkar had not attempted to hit anyone during his rampage, and may have been trying to avoid Russell.

"We're talking inches, and that's another very sad part of this case," Richardson said.

Russell's wife Christine sat with supporters during the submission. She has said she would speak about the trial, which began Feb. 4, after it finishes.

The Crown makes its closing arguments Friday. Superior Court Justice Ian MacDonnell will then charge the jury, which is expected to start deliberations on Monday.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Stephen Harper announces increased support for Canadian child protection agencies

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS June 23, 2011 Local - A Monarch butterfly is perched on a flower  in the newly opened Butterfly Garden in Assiniboine Park Thursday morning.
  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.

View More Gallery Photos


What do you think of the government's announcement that there will be no balanced provincial budget until 2018?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google