Brother of murder victim speaks after Ibrahim Ali conviction

Days after Ibrahim Ali was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of a 13-year-old girl in Burnaby, the child’s family is speaking out.

Days after Ibrahim Ali was found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2017 death of a 13-year-old girl in Burnaby, the child’s family is speaking out.

The family says in a statement, delivered by the girl’s brother Tuesday, that it is relieved with the conviction.

He says while the child’s loved ones don’t feel “true justice” will ever be achieved, “this is the best outcome possible.”

The brother cannot be named due to a publication ban around the girl’s identity. The child’s body was found in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017, hours after she was reported missing by her mother.

“This shattered any sense of security that our family had,” the brother added. He notes he was working and studying abroad and had spoken with his sister “hours before the incident not knowing that those were going to be my last words to her.”

“This is something that’s going to haunt me daily and will probably continue to do so until my dying days.”

Ali was convicted of murder by a jury on Friday. That concluded a months-long trial that had been plagued by delays.

In the statement, the girl’s brother says her family “[loves] her, we miss her, and nothing will ever fill the void that she left when she was so brutally and suddenly torn from us.”

He adds the 13-year-old’s family hopes the guilty verdict will bring peace to her.

On behalf of the family, the brother thanked members of the jury for taking part in the trial, which began earlier this year. He also took the opportunity to thank Crown prosecutors for their work over the years since Ali’s arrest and the girl’s death, as well as Victims’ Services and police for their support.

‘The path that led here today has been very long and painful for all involved,‘ victim’s brother says

The brother, however, had stern words for the defence.

“It has been six long years since [my sister] was assaulted and murdered, and the path that led here today has been very long and painful for all involved. A lot of pain has stemmed from the defence counsel on this case. We were shocked and revolted at the appalling conduct of this defence throughout the case,” the brother said.

“The defence of someone accused of a crime is never easy. 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 [my sister’s] name through the mud, they chose to accuse my 13-year-old sister of having consensual relations with a then-27-year-old Ali.”

Ibrahim Ali's photo next to the entrance of BC Supreme Court in Vancouver
FILE – Ibrahim Ali (pictured) has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old Burnaby girl whose body was found in Central Park hours after her mother reported her missing. (Facebook/CityNews Image)

The brother is referring to part of Ali’s defence, when lawyers questioned the innocence of the girl.

In their closing arguments, one of the defence lawyers disputed the portrayal of the victim by Crown counsel, saying the depiction was “rose-coloured” throughout the trial.

Lawyer Kevin McCullough argued the version of the girl’s lifestyle presented by the Crown was “at best, a partial picture” and “at worst, a lie.”

“Can you imagine how that feels? The hurt that this defence has caused on our family is immeasurable. So I don’t think it’s unfair to say, on behalf of my entire family, that we resent and despise the defence for the way that they have chosen to act, all of which was funded by taxpayer money,” the victim’s brother said, adding the family plans to file formal complaints against the attorneys.

Law Society of BC says everyone ‘entitled to feel safe’ in justice system

Following Ali’s conviction, one of his lawyers reported that police had told him a person close to the proceeding brought a handgun into the Vancouver courtroom on Friday with “intent to kill.”

That came after McCullough also reported he had been receiving a “litany of death threats.”

On Monday, Vancouver police confirmed they had arrested someone in connection with the gun allegations.

In the wake of the reported threats, the Law Society of BC issued a statement saying all people participating in the justice system “are entitled to feel safe as they carry out their difficult, yet vital role in the administration of justice,” no matter who they are.

“Lawyers have a duty to provide legal services to their client no matter who the client is or what they are alleged to have done. Criminal defence lawyers may be called on to represent clients alleged to have committed horrific crimes. In our system of justice, an accused is innocent until proven guilty, and a lawyer’s role is to ensure that the client is treated fairly during all stages of investigations and court proceedings,” the society said in a statement to CityNews.

“All persons are entitled to the assistance of a lawyer to defend them and ensure their rights are represented and protected. Lawyers must not be identified with their clients or their clients’ conduct as a result of doing their job. The safety of lawyers and of all legal professionals, both inside and outside of court, should be taken very seriously.”

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