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Loaded gun brought to B.C. court as man convicted of killing teen girl, lawyer says

A lawyer for Ibrahim Ali in his first-degree murder trial says police told him a person close to the proceedings brought a handgun into the Vancouver courtroom on Friday with “intent to kill.”

Kevin McCullough says police told him the Glock firearm was loaded.

McCullough says he and his wife were called to the Victoria Police Department on Sunday, where officers informed them of the incident. McCullough’s practice is based in Victoria. 

The trial concluded Friday after a B.C. Supreme Court jury convicted Ali of killing a 13-year-old girl in a Burnaby, B.C., park in 2017. The girl’s name cannot be reported because of a publication ban.

Victoria police confirm the investigation into the alleged incident at B.C. Supreme Court is ongoing, and directed inquiries to the Vancouver Police Department.

CBC has reached out to the Vancouver Police Department for further information, and a spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service declined to comment. 

McCullough had asked on Friday the proceedings be moved to a secure courtroom in light of what he said was a “litany of death threats” against defence lawyers and their families.

The B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver does not have metal detection and other security checks for all courtrooms.

Courtroom 20 in the Vancouver court complex is surrounded by bulletproof glass that separates the public gallery from lawyers, the judge, defendants and the jury.

But Justice Lance Bernard said he didn’t know if another court was available and the move didn’t take place.

A court sketch of a man wearing judge's clothes and holding a piece of paper.
An August 2023 courtroom sketch of Justice Lance Bernard, who is overseeing the trial of Ibrahim Ali. (Felicity Don)

“I am fearful for my safety, the safety of my co-counsel, Mr. [Ben] Lynskey, and the safety of Mr. Ali at all court appearances,” McCullough said in an interview with The Canadian Press Monday.

“It’s a sad day when defence counsel, or people who are being zealously represented, and somehow that turns into a society where they want defence counsel to be hurt, killed, intimidated and threatened.”

In hearings without the jury present last week, McCullough read out a note he said he received that threatened him and his family with violent deaths.

“It will happen before Christmas. The last thing you will know is that your family suffers like the child suffered. I am suicidal due to childhood predators looking for someone to cause pain to. I’ll burn myself alive,” the note read.

The main Crown evidence against Ali was semen found inside the girl’s body that was a DNA match with the accused.

McCullough told the jury in his closing arguments that the girl was not an “innocent” child as the Crown had portrayed, that she was a teenager and that it wasn’t “outlandish” to suggest she may have found Ali attractive.

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