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Murdered girl’s dad allowed to listen in to Ali post-trail proceedings: judge

Court orders, courtroom security strike the right balance between safety and the father’s interests
A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has rejected an application to exclude the father of a murdered 13-year-old girl from following post-trial proceedings. The Law Courts building, which is home to B.C. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, is seen in Vancouver, on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The father of a murdered 13-year-old girl may continue listening in remotely to post-trial proceedings, a British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled Friday.

The girl was found dead in a Metro Vancouver park in 2017, and a jury found Ibrahim Ali guilty of her first-degree murder last December.

Ali’s trial lawyers, Kevin McCullough and Ben Lynskey, have been refusing to attend post-trial hearings, citing safety concerns over an allegation the girl’s father brought a loaded gun to the Vancouver courtroom on the day of the verdict.

They instead sent their colleague, Tim Russell, to argue their application to exclude the man. The lawyers said his presence, even virtually, would be distracting and intimidating to the point it would compromise their ability to defend their client.

But Justice Lance Bernard rejected their application.

The father hasn’t been charged in the alleged gun incident, although Bernard said he is aware of “an outstanding police investigation” into the matter.

The judge said the man was arrested and released with orders not to attend court in person, not to contact Ali or his lawyers, and not to possess any firearms.

Those conditions — along with the move to a secure courtroom equipped with bulletproof glass — strike the right balance between safety and the father’s interest in following the proceedings, Bernard said, in his reasons for the ruling.

The father has been following the proceedings remotely through a Mandarin-English interpreter, Bernard said. The interpreter listens and simultaneously translates for the man by telephone, he said.

“This form of access does not afford (the man) any role or voice in the proceedings,” Bernard said.

Brock Martland, who represented the victim’s father, had told the court that his client didn’t bring a gun to court on Dec. 8, the day of the verdict.

Court documents show the man is set to appear at Surrey provincial court later this month in relation to the disposal of items police seized from him the following day.

The father can’t be named because of a publication ban on the identity of his daughter, whose body was found in a park in Burnaby, B.C.

Ali appeared by video on Friday. He has yet to be sentenced in the case, but he faces a mandatory life term with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Later on Friday, the judge sought to set a date for the court to hear arguments over a so-called “Jordan application” by Ali’s lawyers, seeking a stay of proceedings on the grounds that there were unreasonable delays in the case. If granted, Ali would go free without being sentenced.

The court heard that a transcription company estimated it would take 12 to 14 weeks to provide documentation that defence and Crown lawyers say they need in order to go ahead with the delay-related application.

READ ALSO: Dad in Ali murder trial did not bring gun to courtroom, his lawyer says

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