4 accused in Halifax teen murder case appear in N.S. youth court

Lawyers for four Nova Scotia teenagers crammed into a tiny courtroom on Monday morning to discuss next steps in the murder case against their clients.The four are accused of killing 16-year-old Ahmad Al Marrach, who was stabbed in a parkade at the Halifax Shopping Centre on April 22 and died of his injuries in hospital.Two 16-year-olds were arrested that evening but were later released without charges.A few days later, police arrested and charged two 14-year-olds, a boy and a girl, with second-degree murder.Police subsequently charged the two 16-year-olds who had been released on April 22 with second-degree murder.Al Marrach’s parents in attendanceThe four accused were dealt with separately during Monday’s court hearing. Only the 14-year-old girl appeared in person; the other three appeared by video from jail.Al Marrach’s parents also attended court. They were accompanied by an interpreter and members of the community.Lawyers for the four accused told Judge Alan Tufts that they had only received disclosure from the Crown on Friday and needed time to study the evidence and consult with their clients before deciding what to do. Three of the lawyers agreed to return to court this Friday.But the lawyer for one of the 16-year-old boys wants to move faster. Anna Mancini said her client is being held in the Northeast Nova Correctional Centre in Pictou County, which is an adult jail, adding urgency to his detention.Crown prosecutor Terry Nickerson countered that there are youth detention facilities at the Pictou jail. He also said the four accused have to be kept separate so they cannot corroborate their stories.Mancini said she plans to go to court early Tuesday morning to see if she can get early dates for a trial in youth court.Range of trial optionsThe 14-year-old boy also faces a charge of sexual assault relating to an alleged incident on Oct. 30, 2023. His lawyer entered a not guilty plea on that charge during Monday’s court appearance. A two-day trial has been set for this October.Nickerson said he and the other two Crown attorneys on the murder case will decide by Friday how many trials they want. They could decide anything from four separate trials to one large one.If there’s one trial and one accused opts for judge and jury, then all accused will be tried by judge and jury, Nickerson said.The identities of all the accused are banned from publication due to their ages.

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