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B.C. judge rejects bid to throw out conviction for 13-year-old girl’s murder

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has rejected an application to throw out a first-degree murder conviction for what the defence says were unreasonable delays in the trial process.

Defence's Jordan application said too much time had passed between Ibrahim Ali being charged and trial ending

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WARNING: This story contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge has rejected an application to throw out the first-degree murder conviction of Ibrahim Ali for what the defence said were unreasonable delays in the trial process.

Justice Lance Bernard made the ruling from the bench on Thursday, with reasons to follow, moments after defence lawyer Kevin McCullough made a final and fiery argument in the application that could have seen Ali go free.

Ali attended the hearing via video link wearing a red prison jumpsuit. He was arrested in 2018 and has been in custody ever since.

A jury found him guilty on Dec. 8, 2023, of first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in Burnaby's Central Park in July 2017. The girl's name is protected by a publication ban.

McCullough filed the so-called Jordan application on the grounds that too much time had passed between his client being charged and the trial concluding, a limit the Supreme Court of Canada set at 30 months in the 2016 R. v. Jordan decision.

McCullough argued during the application hearing that after subtracting defence delays, Ali's case had taken 60 months, double the Jordan ceiling.

But Crown lawyer Daniel Porte blamed the delays mostly on the defence and "discrete exceptional events," including the COVID-19 pandemic and issues of Ali's mental and physical well-being.

He said if those events were subtracted, it would have only taken about 25 months to conclude the trial, which is within the High Court's threshold.

The case now moves to sentencing with a date to be fixed next Tuesday.

Porte asked that there be enough time given to allow family members of the victim to travel from China in time for sentencing so they can give victim impact statements.

Ali is facing a mandatory life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

His lawyers have already filed an appeal.

Ali's trial ran over eight months with several adjournments, including for the death of an expert witness who hadn't finished testifying, allegations the victim's father had brought a loaded gun to court and threats of violence against Ali's lawyers.

According to Crown counsel, the girl was on a trail in Burnaby's Central Park on July 18, 2017, likely wearing earbuds, when she was attacked, dragged into the woods, sexually assaulted and strangled.

Ali was arrested after investigators ran a complicated sting operation to identify whose DNA was found on the girl's body.

with files from Karin Larsen, Canadian Press

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Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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