The trial of a Calgary teen charged with murder in the traffic-stop death of a city police officer will resume in September, despite the loss of his lead lawyer.
The accused, who was a youth at the time and can’t be named, appeared briefly by video link in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench Friday to determine if the judicial appointment of his defense counsel would derail the resumption of his hearing.
The teen said he hadn’t been instructed that a new lawyer had come on to replace Bob Aloneissi, but he was still being represented by Zachary Al-Khatib, who was co-counsel with Aloneissi.
As a result, Justice Glen Poelman confirmed the accused’s trial on a charge of first-degree murder would resume Sept. 27.
Trial prosecutor Mike Ewenson later confirmed to Postmedia that another lawyer would be coming on the file to assist Al-Khatib.
Aloneissi was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench by Justice Minister David Lametti on April 20.
The accused, now 19, is charged in connection with the New Year’s Eve 2020 traffic-stop death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett.
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Harnett had pulled the teen over for not having his headlights on during the routine traffic stop when it was learned his passenger, Amir Abdulrahman, was wanted on warrants.
When officers went to take Abdulrahman into custody, the vehicle took off with Harnett clinging to the driver’s side door.
Harnett was dragged for more than 400 meters along Falconridge Blvd. NE before he fell off and was struck by an oncoming car.
At the beginning of the trial in January, Aloneissi entered a plea of guilty to manslaughter on his client’s behalf, but Ewenson said the prosecution would continue on the first-degree murder charge.
Abdulrahman, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in Harnett’s death, was sentenced to five years in prison.
The youth remains in custody pending a resolution to his case.
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts