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Jury selection underway in the Marrisa Shen murder trial

Jury selection began in Vancouver Supreme Court Friday in the trial of Ibrahim Ali, the man accused of murdering Burnaby teen Marrisa Shen in July 2017.
Marrisa Shen

Jury selection for the trial of a man accused in the 2017 murder of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen got under way in Vancouver Supreme Court Friday morning after numerous adjournments over the last six years.

Shen’s body was found in Burnaby’s Central Park in the early morning hours of July 19, 2017 after her family reported her missing the night before.

Ibrahim Ali was charged with her murder in September 2018, after what police described as “one of the longest and most resource-intensive investigations” in the history of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.

Ali’s jury 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.

Since then, pre-trial applications have pushed that start date back four more times, to Jan. 10, 2022, Sept. 19, 2022, Jan. 16, 2023 and finally to April 3.

“It is anticipated that the time between now and the start date will be sufficient to accommodate jury selection and remaining pre-trial matters,” B.C. Prosecution Service spokesperson Dan McLaughlin told the NOW in an emailed statement.

McLaughlin said the trial will likely run through to June 30.

As per anti-COVID-19 policies, Ali, his defence team and Crown prosecutors were in court for stage 1 of the jury selection Friday, but the jury panel (all of the prospective jurors who got summonses and confirmed they would attend) were not.

A court clerk drew the juror numbers one-by-one in a random selection, and the numbers were recorded in the sequence in which they were drawn.

On Wednesday, the jury panel will appear in groups of about 30 in the order in which their numbers were drawn, and jury selection will begin.

Ali has been in custody since his September 2018 arrest.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor

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