Jury hears graphic testimony from sex assault expert at Burnaby murder trial

Disturbing testimony at trial

Advisory: This story includes disturbing details about a murder trial. Reader discretion is advised.

Injuries to a 13-year-old girl found dead in a Burnaby park six years ago were “equivalent” to injuries women sometimes sustain during childbirth, a sexual assault expert told the jury at the murder trial of Ibrahim Ali this week.

Dr. Tracy Pickett, the director of BC Women’s Hospital sexual assault service, continued her testimony in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver Thursday morning.

Ali has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 13-year-old girl whose body was found in Central Park on July 19, 2017, less than two hours after her family reported her missing.

Ali has pleaded not guilty.

The girl cannot be identified because of a publication ban.

Pickett was engaged by the Crown in January 2021 to give expert opinion on injuries found on the body of the young teen, including tearing within the vagina and anus and bruising on the wall of the rectum.

Earlier in her testimony, Pickett had said the likely cause of the injury was blunt force trauma inflicted during penetration with a “relatively large object,” such as a penis.

Picket said vaginal injuries are “very uncommon” compared to other injuries, and it was “very unlikely” that the ones she observed on the girl’s body were caused by a smaller object, such as a tampon.

“I would consider it equivalent to the injuries that I’ve seen with childbirth, following childbirth,” she said.

During her nearly 30-year career as a doctor, Pickett noted she has performed more than 1,500 vaginal exams in a trauma context, and she has delivered more than 100 babies.

The Crown's theory is that Ali and the girl were strangers to one another and that he attacked her on a trail in Central Park, dragged her into the forest and strangled her to death while sexually assaulting her.

The defence has not outlined its theory but has suggested the killer and whoever had sex with the young teen — "either forced sex or sex" — are not the same people.

Pickett's testimony continues. She has yet to face questions from Ali's lawyers.

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