Trial of third teenager charged with killing Ali Mohummad continues

A teenager charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of 19-year-old Ali Mohummad has lost his bid to have the charges thrown out of court due to delays from a lagging justice system.

In court on Wednesday, Ontario Court Judge Anthony Leitch denied the defense’s claim under section 11(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which limits how long a case can stay before the courts, from the swearing of the charges to the resolution.

Leitch said he is still working on drafting his reasons for judgment, which will be released at a later date. The judge was supposed to deliver the decision and reasons earlier this month, but was delayed due to his own long list of cases.

The accused was 17 at the time of the July 19, 2020 knife attack and therefore cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The ruling means his trial by judge alone will continue. It is expected to start on January 3, 2023.

He sat quietly with his lawyer and an Arabic interpreter in the courtroom on Wednesday. Several family members were seated in the court body and the victim’s family listened in via Zoom.

Two other young men, also aged 17 at the time of the murder, are on trial separately for second-degree murder, two counts of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. Judgment in their case is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 (the day after the decision on the 11(b) application).

The prosecution argued that these two teenagers staged an early morning ambush at 310 Limeridge Rd. W., east of Garth Street, which led to Mohummad’s death. The teenagers had an ongoing conflict with Mohummad’s older brother, Hamza Chaudry, over perceived disrespect.

Chaudry and his friends testified that they went to the parking lot to talk about the problem when they were ambushed. Video from the melee shows a chaotic scene with young men running around. The video shows Mohummad being chased out of the parking lot. The two teenagers tried together were hit by a car.

Their lawyers argued that it was a consensual fight, not an ambush, and that the boys did not know what happened to Mohummad, known as Ali Moe.

The third teenager is accused of having participated in the fight. He pleaded not guilty.

In the early morning hours of July 19, after the fight had ended, friends and police were unable to find Mohummad initially. Her stabbed body was found about four hours later on an embankment near a building behind the large parking lot. The prosecution says evidence indicates Mohummad was stabbed in the parking lot, before running and collapsing.

Several other people were injured in the incident, including Chaudry, who was stabbed in the arm.

The third teenager was arrested and charged almost 10 months after the fight in the parking lot after police allegedly identified him on video near the scene.

The defense argued in court that its case will exceed the 18-month deadline set by the Supreme Court of Canada in its Jordan decision. But Leitch disagreed.

The case was among a number of requests for a stay of proceedings due to delays, The Spectator reported. The beleaguered justice system was already facing backlogs before the COVID-19 pandemic led to widespread closures. Since the pandemic hit, this backlog has been exacerbated to the point of crisis, with courts scrambling to keep up with cases and some charges being stayed or withdrawn.

A judge who granted a stay in a drunk driving case in March warned that the “surge” of 11(b) requests “threaten to turn into a tsunami,” Judge Joe Fiorucci said.

Elna M. Lemons