Judge can’t guar­an­tee mother of slain teen will re­ceive in­ter­preter

Vancouver Sun - - CITY - CAMILLE BAINS

The mother of a 13-year-old girl found mur­dered in a park in Burn­aby has asked for a Man­darin in­ter­preter so she can un­der­stand court pro­ceed­ings, and a judge has rec­om­mended the prov­ince pay for it.

The mother’s lawyer, Es­ther Korn­feld, told court her client’s friend in­ter­preted pro­ceed­ings last month af­ter a man ac­cused of the crime made his first ap­pear­ance.

Ibrahim Ali, 28, was back in court Fri­day, but Mar­risa Shen’s mother wasn’t in the gallery with peo­ple sup­port­ing the fam­ily of the girl who was found dead in a wooded area of Cen­tral Park on July 19, 2017.

Pro­vin­cial court Judge Har­bans Dhillon told Korn­feld she didn’t know if she could “bind the hands of the min­is­ter” who could con­sider pro­vid­ing fund­ing for a courtcer­ti­fied in­ter­preter.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral’s min­istry did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

Korn­feld said Shen’s mother, who does not want her name made pub­lic, has a re­strain­ing or­der against her ex-hus­band, her daugh­ter’s fa­ther, and wanted her pri­vacy re­spected in court by hav­ing sher­iffs alerted to his pres­ence.

Dhillon said she would not en­ter­tain that re­quest.

Ali, a Syr­ian na­tional who stood in­side a glassed-off area with an Ara­bic in­ter­preter, is sched­uled to re­turn to court on Nov. 23 to al­low the pros­e­cu­tion time to pro­vide ma­te­rial to the de­fence.

Crown coun­sel Daniel Porte said 10,000 pages of ma­te­rial has been com­piled.

Ali was ar­rested on Sept. 7, two weeks af­ter the In­te­grated Homi­cide In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team said it be­came aware of him as a sus­pect. He faces a first-de­gree mur­der charge. Po­lice have said Ali came to Canada as a refugee about three months be­fore Shen was killed and that he is a per­ma­nent res­i­dent with a job and fam­ily in the coun­try.

Out­side court, sup­port­ers of Shen’s fam­ily lined the street call­ing for jus­tice as they held signs read­ing “No bail, no more vic­tims” and “Com­pre­hen­sive se­cu­rity screen­ing now.”

Xiy Yan Zhou said she came to stand out­side court in Van­cou­ver’s Down­town East­side from her home in sub­ur­ban Maple Ridge be­cause she wants her 13-year-old niece to feel safe in her com­mu­nity.

“I need to be here be­cause I want her to grow up in safety and peace,” she said, stand­ing near a large photo of Shen along­side about two dozen other peo­ple.

Jeff Jiang of Van­cou­ver said he has sup­ported Shen’s mother through­out her or­deal and saw her last week.

He said the woman moved from Burn­aby and is now liv­ing else­where with a friend.

“She sold her apart­ment be­cause it’s a sad place,” Jiang said.

He said the girl’s mother is fi­nan­cially strapped be­cause she is no longer able to work.

Shen was last seen on se­cu­rity video en­ter­ing a Tim Hor­tons a few min­utes af­ter she left her home at 6 p.m., on July 18, 2017.

Her mother re­ported her miss­ing at 11:30 p.m., and the girl’s body was found by po­lice about 90 min­utes later.

Mar­risa Shen

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