July 22nd, 2024

Police arrest man after claim of gun in Ali trial, as girl’s brother assails lawyers

By Brieanna Charlebois, The Canadian Press on December 12, 2023.

A lawyer for Ibrahim Ali is seeking to appeal his client's first-degree murder conviction in the killing of a 13-year-old girl in a British Columbia park, citing 25 grounds including allegations about "third-party suspects" and bias by the court.; Media wait outside B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday, June 2, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Ibrahim Ali’s trial ended last week with his conviction for first-degree murder, but fallout continued Tuesday with Vancouver police saying they arrested a man after allegations a loaded gun was brought to the trial, and the victim’s brother condemning Ali’s lawyers for dragging her name “through the mud.”

The brother of the 13-year-old victim said their family was grateful for the verdict, but they “resent and despise” Ali’s lawyers for their handling of the case.

The girl’s body was found in a Burnaby, B.C., park in July 2017. The trial heard it appeared she was sexually assaulted, then strangled, and semen found inside the girl’s body that matched Ali’s DNA.

Ali’s lawyer Kevin McCullough told the jury that the girl was not an “innocent” child as the Crown had portrayed during trial, that she was a teenager and that it wasn’t “outlandish” to suggest she may have found Ali attractive.

The girl can’t be named because of a publication ban.

“The defence of someone accused of a crime is never easy,” the girl’s brother said, reading a prepared statement outside the B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday.

“But I am sure there are ways to approach it without re-victimizing and re-traumatizing the surviving family and friends of the victim. And yet this is exactly what this defence chose to do. They chose to drag her as his name through the mud.”

He said the family will be filing formal complaints … to see them disbarred.”

McCullough has said he and co-counsel Ben Lynskey have received multiple death threats over the case.

He said in an interview Monday that Victoria Police told him someone close to the proceedings brought a loaded Glock handgun to court with an intention “to kill” on Friday.

On Tuesday, Vancouver Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Addison said in a statement that inquiries were underway into the claims and a man was arrested then released pending further investigations.

“I am fearful for my safety, the safety of my co-counsel, Mr. (Ben) Lynskey, and the safety of Mr. Ali at all court appearances,” McCullough told The Canadian Press Monday.

“It’s a sad day when defence counsel or people who are being zealously represented, and somehow that turns into a society where they want defence counsel to be hurt, killed, intimidated and threatened.”

McCullough has filed notice of appeal against his client’s conviction in the killing of the girl in Burnaby’s Central Park in 2017.

The notice filed Monday lists 25 grounds, including that the court didn’t properly address safety concerns about death threats against Ali’s lawyers, and that there were “third-party suspects” in the girl’s death.

McCullough says two other men were arrested for the killing, but the B.C. Supreme Court erred by refusing to allow evidence about them to be brought up at the trial.

The notice also describes “two Asian men” who McCullough says were seen carrying a heavy bag near where the girl’s body was found.

Other grounds for appeal include alleged bias against the defence, and a dispute over the Crown’s suggestion the girl did not have a boyfriend.

The trial concluded Friday but hearings on matters arising from the case continue.

Another affidavit filed Dec. 5 describes more than a dozen messages received by McCullough and his firm that includes threats to kill the lawyer and his family.

A hearing on Tuesday was moved to courtroom 67, which is fitted with a metal detector, and everyone who entered was screened and their bags were checked by sheriffs.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2023.

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