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February 28, 2000
They have to relive their daughter's death
A P Kamath
Much before murders by schoolchildren in America made headlines last year, the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk by fellow students in Victoria, British Columbia, not only shocked Canadians but also led to series of magazine and newspaper articles on youth violence.
Now, three years after Virk's murder and a year after her school mate Warren Glowatski, 18, was convicted of second-degree murder, her family feels as if the trial is going to open for the very first time. Six of the girls, aged 14 to 16, who beat Reena received sentences of up to a year in jail for their part in her death.
Now on trial is Kelly Ellard, who was 15 at the time of Reena's death. The trial is being held in British Columbia's Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Reena Virk was beaten twice; the second time around, just two people allegedly hit her so much that she became unconscious. And it is these two who were charged on the more serious counts.
Reena was reportedly reeling home across the bridge after the first beating when the second attack, which led to her death, began.
Glowatski was convicted of second-degree murder in adult court. Since he was 16 at the time of the murder, he fell under the Young Offenders Act for sentencing, receiving a life sentence of 25 years with no parole for seven years. Had he been tried as an adult, he would not have been eligible for parole in 2004.
Last year, Ellard's lawyer, Adrian Brooks, argued she was too immature for adult prison so she should be tried in a youth court.
But the British Columbia Court of Appeal rejected his plea last year and the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal recently.
Meanwhile, Virk, who is raising two pre-teen children, is taking a philosophical look of the tragedy.
Virk, who describes herself as a devout Jehovah's Witness, says she is too busy trying to raise her family and "keep life as routine and normal as possible" to waste time being mad.
"I want people to learn that you don't have to be angry, you don't have to be vindictive," she told the local media last week.
"And, if you expect other people to behave in a certain way, you have to set the example yourself. I am not going to lower myself down to their standards."
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