Skip to content

Burnaby murder trial interrupted as accused apparently asleep with jacket over his head

Ibrahim Ali's lawyers requested a break as their client, reportedly suffering from a migraine, covered his head with his suit jacket during the testimony of sex assault expert Dr. Tracy Pickett.

The Ibrahim Ali murder trial was interrupted Tuesday when the accused apparently fell asleep with a suit jacket over his head and face during testimony from a sexual assault expert.

Crown prosecutor Isobel Keeley was questioning Dr. Tracy Pickett at the trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Tuesday morning about injuries to a 13-year-old girl found dead in a Burnaby park six years ago.

Ali has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of the young teen, whose body was found in Central Park on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her family reported her missing at about 11 p.m. on July 18, 2017.

Ali has pleaded not guilty.

The girl cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

About 10 minutes into the proceedings Tuesday morning, defence lawyer Ben Lynskey interrupted Keeley’s questions and requested a break.

He directed the court’s attention to Ali, who was sitting in the dock with his suit jacket over his head and face, apparently asleep.

“You’ve heard Mr. Ali’s not feeling well,” Lynskey said. “He’s now covered his head and appears to be sleeping. Can we have some time? You’ve heard that he has a headache.”

Lynskey said he didn’t think it was appropriate to continue.

Justice Lance Bernard asked Lynskey to make his request more specific.

“Just asking for time, I don’t know if that means days or a half an hour or 15 minutes,” he said.

Lynskey requested the court stand down till 2 p.m. so Ali could sleep and take some medication.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate that he’s sitting in court with a jacket over his face when the evidence is going on,” Lynskey said.

“Well, that was his choice,” Bernard said. “I just want to be clear, I didn’t direct him to put a jacket over his face.”

He asked Ali's lawyers whether they had spoken to a doctor or anyone else who could "support these complaints."

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough said he had "repeatedly" inquired but there had been "no response yet."

Bernard eventually directed the jury to return to the jury room to await further instructions about when the trial would continue.

The trial was later adjourned until 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
Email [email protected]