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|March 7, 2000|
Lawyer in the murder trial questions key witness's testimony
A P Kamath
As the trial in the murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk entered its final phase, Kelly Marie Ellard's lawyer Adrian Brooks is getting ready to question the allegation that his client played the key role in Virk's death.
Ellard, now 17, is charged as an adult in the murder that took place two years ago.
According to the prosecution, a group of girls and boys from Virk's school had lured Virk to a lonely spot outside Victoria city. The British Columbia murder made big news not only in Canada but also in America and other countries.
Most of the aggressors were girls. They beat up Virk because they did not like her; one of them accused her of stealing her boyfriend.
But after the first group walked away, and Virk staggered off in the direction of her home, Ellard and Warren Glowatski, the only man charged in the murder, reportedly beat up Virk and let her lie unconscious in the water. Her body was found eight days later.
Glowatski, 18, told the officials that Ellard was the key aggressor. He was tried and convicted on a second-degree murder charge last summer by a judge.
The judge spurned Glowatski's efforts to pin the blame for the final attack on Ellard, charging Glowatski's evidence "conveniently incomplete and improbable".
Now Ellard's lawyer is saying the same thing.
"We will have a chance to deal with that head on," Adrian Brooks said "It's an important part of what has been put out there. Now we will get a chance to test it."
Glowatski was sentenced last year to a life term of 25 years, with no possibility of parole for seven years.
Ellard has been living under a bail order that requires her to be with her parents at all times. She has a strict curfew and cannot use alcohol or drugs.
Brooks said even though she finds the trial "extremely stressful and upsetting," she is ready for it.
The trial is expected to be over in three weeks; it was moved from Victoria to Vancouver due to the adverse publicity in the former city.
While six girls, aged 14 to 16, were jailed for up to a year, Ellard and Glowatski were charged with second-degree murder.
Virk's family members say they are troubled that none of the accused showed any contrition during the trial or at the sentencing.
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