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Ali still denies killing, refuses to hear victim’s dad as sentencing looms

Ibrahim Ali faces a life term for conviction in 2017 killing of 13-year-old found in B.C. park

A man convicted of murdering a 13-year-old Burnaby, B.C., girl has repeatedly told a pre-sentencing hearing that he didn’t kill her, after refusing to listen to his interpreter during an impact statement by the girl’s father.

A portion of the recorded statement was being played to test equipment ahead of Friday’s sentencing hearing for Ibrahim Ali, who faces a life term for the 2017 killing.

But Ali, who was appearing in B.C. Supreme Court by video link, refused to pick up the phone to listen to his interpreter, prompting a long exchange with Judge Lance Bernard who asked for an explanation.

Ali told Bernard in broken English that listening to the girl’s father was “a no from me,” saying he “did not kill” the man’s daughter and was not in Burnaby’s Central Park the day she was murdered.

Ali’s DNA matched semen found in the body of the girl, who can’t be named because of a publication ban.

A jury took less than 24 hours to find Ali guilty of first-degree murder at the end of his eight-month trial last December.

The conviction carries a mandatory life term with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Ali was wearing an orange sweat suit and black gloves at Thursday’s hearing and could be seen at times pacing or picking his teeth.

Before testing the father’s video, the court discussed plans for Friday’s sentencing hearing, and the Crown summarized the post-release restrictions they will be seeking.

At that point, Ali interjected through his interpreter, saying: “Tell the judge now, tell the judge now, I didn’t kill that girl and I didn’t walk into that park.”

The judge then instructed the interpreter not to interject on behalf of Ali. Ali later reiterated the statement himself in his exchange with the judge.

Crown lawyer Isobel Keeley told the court Thursday that at least seven victim impact statements would be heard in court on Friday.

Ali will also have the opportunity to make a statement at the hearing. His lawyer, Kevin McCullough, who also appeared by video Thursday, asked the judge whether he could instead make a statement on behalf of his client, if Ali agreed.

“I expect him to go on for some length,” McCullough told the judge.

Bernard said that decision should be made between McCullough and his client.

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