Canadian cleared in policeman's death by snowplow

OTTAWA (AFP) - A Canadian jury on Wednesday found a man who killed a policeman by driving over him with a snowplow not criminally responsible by way of mental illness.

A barefoot Richard Kachkar, 46, stole an idling plow from outside a coffee shop on a snowy morning two years ago in Toronto and went on a two-hour rampage, smashing into vehicles and a luxury car dealership before running into Sergeant Ryan Russell who was attempting to stop him.

The prosecution argued that Kachkar targeted the 35-year-old officer to avoid arrest. But three forensic psychiatrists testified that he was in a psychotic state when he went on the joyride. The court heard that Kachkar was yelling about the Talrban and the Chinese, and that "it's all a Russian video game."

Kachkar also feared that paramedics tending to his injuries following his escapade were trying to poison him, or implant microchips in his body.

Russell's widow, Christine, told reporters she was "very disappointed" with the verdict.

"There is zero closure in a verdict of not criminally responsible," she said.

A review board is now expected to commit Kachkar to a mental institution until he is deemed fit for release.

The Canadian government introduced legislation in February to toughen the rules for releasing individuals found not criminally responsible for a crime and deemed to pose a significant danger to the public.

The bill was introduced in response to a public outcry over cases such as this one, as well as a Chinese immigrant beheading an aboriginal man on a Greyhound bus, and a Quebec man murdering his two children.

However, it comes too late to be applied in these cases.

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