Nova Scotia

Crown opts for single murder trial for 4 teens accused in stabbing

The Crown plans to proceed with a single trial for four Halifax-area teenagers accused of killing a 16-year-old boy. 

Ahmad Al Marrach was stabbed in a parkade at the Halifax Shopping Centre early on the evening of April 22. He died of his injuries in hospital.

Tuesday morning in Youth Justice Court in Halifax, Crown Terry Nickerson introduced the court document called an information that means the four accused will be tried together for second-degree murder.

The identities of the youth, two 16-year-old boys, a 14-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl, are banned from publication due to their ages.

Lawyers for one of the 16-year-olds were in court seeking early trial dates for their client.

Lawyer Anna Mancini said she was “extremely concerned” that he was being held in an adult jail in Pictou County, instead of the youth correctional facility in Waterville, N.S.

“I’m really on a mission to find trial dates as soon as possible,” Mancini told court.

The Crown said during an earlier court appearance that it was necessary to keep the four accused physically separate so they could not collude on their stories.

Ahmad Al Marrach was a 16-year-old student at Citadel High School. He and his family came to Canada from Syria as refugees eight years ago. (Al Marrach family image)

Mancini wants a trial in youth court and Judge Elizabeth Buckle tentatively set aside most of the month of September for it. But if any of the other three accused opt for a jury trial or a trial by a Supreme Court Justice alone, that option would apply to all four.

Mancini’s search for an early trial date was pre-empted by Nickerson’s announcement of the plan to proceed with one trial. She said she will now consult with lawyers for the other three accused to see if they can reach a consensus on how they want to proceed.

The case returns to youth court on Friday. Whatever the choice, the trial will be conducted under youth court rules, meaning the identities of the four accused will continue to be protected. The only change would come if they are convicted and given adult sentences.

The two 14-year-olds were arrested a couple of days after the stabbing. The 16-year-olds were arrested separately a couple of days after that.

See also  Crown wants 25-year sentence for former Hants County child molester

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