Ibrahim Ali, wearing prison reds, was present in the glassed-in dock in the courtroom and listened to proceedings through an Arabic interpreter.
The case against the man charged with first-degree murder of Burnaby teen Marrisa Shen involves 12,000 documents and more than 800 multimedia documents, including 53 hours of interviews and 900 photos, court heard on Tuesday.
Ibrahim Ali made a brief appearance in Vancouver provincial court to set another court appearance for March 5.
His lawyer, Veen Aldosky, told court she has received most of the Crown’s disclosures in the case but was still awaiting the complete file. Ali, wearing prison reds, was present in the glassed-in dock in the courtroom and listened to proceedings through an Arabic interpreter.
Crown prosecutor Daniel Port said disclosure to defence was “substantially complete” but police were still translating the three days of interviews conducted in Arabic.
“We are working hard to get this voluminous amount of disclosure to my friend,” he said.
Meanwhile, outside about 30 mostly Asian protesters with signs saying “We want justice, law and order” and “Comprehensive security screening now” chanted “Vote out Trudeau!”
Protester Laura Lynn Thompson, who is running in the federal Burnaby South byelection later this month as the People’s Party of Canada candidate, said she was there to “stand up for the safety and protection of all Canadians.”
She and others demanded more screening of immigrant refugees and a crackdown on “illegal border jumpers.”
Ali arrived in Canada as a refugee from Syria, just months before she was killed in July 2017, police said.
He was arrested in September 2018 in Burnaby, where he lives, not far from Central Park, where the 13-year-old‘s body was found.
Ali did not appear to know Shen, and Shen did not know Ali, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team has said.
Shen was reported missing by her family after she failed to return home by 11 p.m. on July 18, 2017. Police launched a search, using GPS to track her cellphone. The girl’s body was found early the next morning.
Ali is a Syrian national and a permanent resident of Canada who was jointly sponsored by a group of families on Bowen Island and the St. Andrew’s-Wesley United Church.
According to reports in the Bowen Island Undercurrent, Ali arrived with two brothers, one of whom had a spouse and three young children. They joined a fourth brother who came to Canada as a government-sponsored refugee years earlier. The family was united and now lives in Burnaby.
The protesters outside court set up a large banner saying: “Trudeau, where is your heart?” next to a large photo of Shen.
Natalie Lin of Surrey said she no longer feels safe walking outside because of Shen’s death.
Kat Brook, who said she spoke for the group of protesters, said she was there to protest the improper screening of immigrants and said Ali wouldn’t have been allowed to immigrate into Canada if he had been properly screened.
Canada’s immigration department has said every refugee “undergoes a robust, multi-layered screening before being allowed to enter Canada.”
Each has a medical exam and a security check to ensure they have not committed serious offences, according to a spokeswoman.
That includes collecting biographical information and biometrics, such as fingerprints and digital photos, which are checked against immigration, law enforcement and security databases, while the refugees are overseas, the spokeswoman said.
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