Closing arguments begin in B.C. first-degree murder trial of Ibrahim Ali

The court heard closing arguments on Thursday in the trial of the man accused of killing a 13-year-old Burnaby girl in 2017. Monika Gul has more on the trial, which began nearly eight months ago, following years of delays.

By Martin MacMahon, Monika Gul, and The Canadian Press

Thursday marked the beginning of closing arguments in the trial of Ibrahim Ali, who is accused of first-degree murder in relation to the death of a 13-year-old girl in Burnaby in 2017.

The Crown opened closing arguments, telling the jury to use their “wisdom, experience, and common sense” when looking at all the evidence, and spending about two hours summarizing evidence covered over the course of the almost-nine-month trial.

At one point, the BC Supreme courtroom fell silent for two full minutes as Crown attorney Daniel Porte neared the end of his closing arguments.

Porte was illustrating how long it would have taken Ali to strangle the girl he’s accused of killing six years ago, saying the man would have had to apply “consistent and sustained” pressure.

The courtroom in Vancouver was full ahead of the judge and jury filing in Thursday, with dozens of people left outside the building, unable to get in.

“Most of us have the same feeling as me — six and a half years is too long for the justice to come,” Bella Huang, who was among the people demonstrating outside court Thursday, said.

Protesters outside BC Supreme Court in Vancouver during closing arguments in the Ibrahim Ali murder trial on Nov. 30, 2023
Protesters outside BC Supreme Court in Vancouver during closing arguments in the Ibrahim Ali murder trial on Nov. 30, 2023. (CityNews Image)

“There’s so many parents here. We want a safe community for our children.”

Ali pleaded not guilty in April to murdering the girl, whose name has been protected by a publication ban, after her body was found in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017, just hours after her mother reported her missing.

The jury heard from about four dozen Crown witnesses over the course of the almost nine-month trial, including police, civilians, and experts who said the girl was sexually assaulted and strangled, and that Ali’s DNA was found inside her body. 

Porte told the jury Thursday that the Crown has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Ali dragged the girl into a wooded area, sexually assaulted her, then killed her.

Ali’s lawyer, Kevin McCullough, told the jury last week that they would not be calling any evidence in defence of the allegations because the Crown hadn’t proved its case against Ali.  

The defence is expected to deliver its closing arguments on Friday. Meanwhile, the judge told the jury Thursday he expects to give them his final instructions next week before members begin their deliberations.

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