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Crown sets up DNA evidence at Burnaby murder trial

DNA expert Christine Crossman took the stand Thursday at the trial of Ibrahim Ali, who is accused of first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old Burnaby girl six years ago.
The trial of Ibrahim Ali, accused of the murder of a Burnaby teen, is ongoing.

The Crown has begun setting up its DNA evidence at the trial of a man accused of murdering a 13-year-old girl found dead in a Burnaby park six years ago.

DNA expert Christine Crossman took the stand at the trial of Ibrahim Ali in Vancouver Supreme Court Thursday.

Ali is accused of first-degree murder in the death of the girl, whose body was found in Central Park on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her family reported her missing.

Ali has pleaded not guilty.

The victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban.

Crossman, a scientist with RCMP Forensic Laboratory Services in Surrey, answered general questions from assisting Crown prosecutor Colleen Smith about what DNA is and how DNA evidence is processed at the lab.

Crossman went over the steps the lab takes in a case, starting with the recovery of bodily substances from bits of evidence, such as blood from a t-shirt, to the extraction of DNA from the substance to analysis and the creation of DNA profiles.

She also went over how the exhibits are logged, tracked and stored.

The Crown's theory is that Ali attacked the 13-year-old girl in Central Park, dragged her into the forest and strangled her during the course of sexually assaulting her.

In her opening statement, Crown prosecutor Isobel Keeley told the jury they would hear DNA evidence Ali’s sperm was found on swabs taken in the victim’s vagina and anus.

“Numerous witnesses will testify to their respective roles in the collection, continuity and testing of DNA-related exhibits,” Keeley told the jury last month.

Crossman’s testimony continues Monday.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor