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Ali’s legal team argues lack of evidence, claims prosecution failed to prove his guilt in BC girl’s murder

Ibrahim Ali’s lawyers have told the jury in his first-degree murder trial they will not be calling any evidence in defence of allegations he sexually assaulted, and killed a 13-year-old girl in Burnaby, B.C.

Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough told the jury the Crown hasn’t met the burden of proof to find Mr. Ali guilty.

Justice Lance Bernard told the jury on Nov. 21 that closing arguments from both the Crown and defence are expected to begin in about a week.

“This means that the evidentiary portion of the trial has concluded. The next stage in the proceedings for you is hearing the closing addresses. At some point after those are completed, I will give my final instructions to you and then you will begin your deliberations on the verdict.”

Mr. Ali pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering the teenager, whose name has been protected by a publication ban.

The girl’s body was found in Burnaby’s Central Park in July 2017, just hours after her mother reported her missing.

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The jury heard from almost 50 Crown witnesses, including police, civilians, and experts.

One of the key witnesses was Christine Crossman, an RCMP forensic biologist, who testified that Mr. Ali’s DNA was found inside the body of the girl.

On cross-examination, defence focused on the fact Mr. Ali’s genetic profile was not found elsewhere on the victim and suggested that “the person who had sex” with the teen may not be the one who killed her.

The jury also heard from police officers who first found the girl’s body, those who handled DNA, and others who served the warrant for Mr. Ali’s arrest.

The girl’s mother, brother, and a friend also testified about their relationships and final interactions with the girl the day she died.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jason Morin, who conducted the autopsy, testified that the girl had been strangled and had numerous injuries on her body.

The jury also heard from a sexual assault expert who testified that the teen’s injuries strongly indicated that she had been sexually assaulted. However, Dr. Tracy Pickett’s testimony under cross-examination was never completed.

Dr. Pickett, a specialist in emergency and clinical forensic medicine, was found dead on Sept. 28.

On Nov. 7, Justice Lance Bernard instructed the jury to disregard Dr. Pickett’s testimony and to resist all speculation into her death.

Crown attorney Isobel Keeley told the court during her opening statement in April that evidence would show the teen was walking through the park when she was dragged off a pathway into the forest, then sexually assaulted and strangled.

The defence did not reveal its theory of events to the jury.

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