Huffpost Canada ca

Shafia Trial Courthouse Evacuated: Closing Arguments Delayed By Security Threat

Posted: Updated:
SHAFIA TRIAL DELAY
Crown lawyers argue that the Shafia family staged an accident to cover up their murder. | AP

UPDATE: Closing arguments at the Shafia trial have been delayed to a security issue, according to reporters at the courthouse in Kingston.

"Strange goings-on at Shafia trial. Several cops in hallway, followed by polite evacuation request. Everyone outside," tweeted Global News' Mike Armstrong.

The CBC also sent an alert saying that the trial has been delayed for three hours and a tactical unit is now on the scene. Media reports are saying that a bomb threat was the cause of the evacuation.

----

KINGSTON, Ont. - A jury deciding the case of three people accused of killing four female family members in a so-called honour killing will hear the final word from the Crown on Thursday.

Crown attorney Laurie Lacelle told the jury in Kingston, Ont., in the beginning of her closing address Wednesday that it's not their task to decide if these were honour killings, only if they were planned murders.

Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, have each pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder.

They're accused of killing teenage Shafia daughters Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, as well as Shafia's first wife in his polygamous marriage.

Lacelle will continue her closing submissions today, after the jury heard from the three defence lawyers Tuesday and Wednesday.

The bodies of the four were found June 30, 2009, in a car at the bottom of a canal in Kingston, where the Montreal family had stopped on their way back from a trip to Niagara Falls, Ont.

The Crown alleges it was a premeditated murder, staged to look like an accident after it was carried out. But Patrick McCann, the lawyer for Hamed, told the jury Wednesday that the evidence does indeed fit with the deaths being an accident.

Four months after the family's arrests Hamed told a university student hired on the sly by his father as a private investigator that he was present when the car went in the canal and had witnessed the tragic accident. He didn't call police at the time, and for that he is "guilty of being stupid" and "morally blameworthy," but not of murder, McCann said.

The Crown suggested Wednesday that story was a "complete fabrication" concocted by Hamed to explain the evidence.

Around the Web

The Shafia trial at a glance

Father Raymond J. de Souza: The Shafia has been an unwelcome spectacle

Shafia son made 'terrible decision' but is no murderer, trial told