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Ibrahim Ali 'not well,' jury in Burnaby murder trial sent home

A Burnaby murder trial was expected to continue Thursday with the cross-examination of the forensic pathologist who autopsied the 13-year-old victim, but her accused killer, Ibrahim Ali, was 'not well,' so the jury was sent home.
The first-degree murder trial of Ibrahim Ali, accused in the death of a 13-year-old Burnaby girl, began on April 5 in Vancouver Supreme Court.

One day after a judge told the jury in the Ibrahim Ali murder trial that delays could extend the trial past September, jurors were sent home because Ali was “not well.”

Ali is accused of first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old girl found dead in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017.

The jury was ready to hear the continuation of forensic pathologist Dr. Jason Morin’s cross examination Thursday, but they were sent home before that could go ahead.

“Once again I begin my remarks to you by apologizing for keeping you waiting,” B.C. Supreme Court Justice Lance Bernard said. “Mr. Ali is not well today. There was some expectation that he might feel better, which is why you/we waited, to see whether that would occur, but apparently it hasn’t. We can’t proceed in his absence.”

Bernard said he also couldn’t deal with the notes he got from “various jurors” after he announced Wednesday that the trial will likely run into the fall.

The jury had originally been told it would go until June 30.

“I think I can say, generally, overall, I don’t see a concern with the trial continuing,” Bernard told the jury Thursday.

“If there was a serious concern about whether the trial could continue with this jury, I would want to deal with that as soon as possible.”

Thursday was the second time the jury was sent home because Ali was absent from court.

The Crown was expected to make its opening statement on the second day of the trial April 6, but Ali was not in court, and the trial resumed after the long weekend on April 11.

Ali was charged in September 2018, after a lengthy homicide investigation.

His trial was originally set for September 2020, but jury selection was cancelled a month before it was scheduled to begin, and the court was told the trial wouldn’t start until September 2021.

It was then delayed several more times.

The trial is expected to continue Friday.

(Update: Ali was not in court again Friday. The jury has been asked to return Tuesday morning.)

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor