Police arrest Ottawa man who allegedly fled to avoid testifying at murder trial
Published Wednesday, December 28, 2016 6:42PM EST
Ali Abdul Hussein was arrested after arriving in Ottawa from a foreign country on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. (Ottawa Police)
OTTAWA -- A man who allegedly fled Ottawa to avoid testifying at a murder trial has been arrested by police after landing at the city's airport.
Police say Ali Abdul Hussein was arrested on Tuesday after arriving in Ottawa from a foreign country.
Hussein has been charged with failing to appear as a witness and obstructing justice in connection with the trial of Nawaf Al-Enzi, who was charged with the 2006 murder of Mohamed Zalal, an Ottawa-area drug dealer.
Const. Chuck Benoit says Al-Enzi, who was Abdul Hussein's brother-in-law, was found guilty earlier this month after a second trial in the matter.
Police say a second man, 32-year-old Mahmoud Kayem, is still being sought for the same charges faced by Hussein.
According to a 2014 ruling from the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Al-Enzi, Abdul Hussein and Kayem were initially all charged in 2008 with Zalal's murder.
The appeal court ruling said Abdul-Hussein made a deal with the Crown and gave a statement to police in which he said Al-Enzi shot Zalal in a car driven by Kayem. Abdul-Hussein also pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact, for which he received a statement of time served.
The ruling said the Crown then proceeded jointly against Al-Enzi and Kayem, charging each with first-degree murder. The ruling said both Al-Enzi and Kayem pleaded not guilty and blamed the other.
Midway through their trial, Abdul-Hussein recanted his statement to police, the ruling said. He was then cross-examined in court but Al-Enzi's lawyer withdrew from the case partway through the process, leaving Al-Enzi unrepresented, the ruling said.
The trial judge adjourned the case for nearly four months for Al-Enzi to find a new lawyer but the man wasn't able to and sought a severance or mistrial so he could be represented by counsel at a new trial, the appeal court ruling said.
But the trial judge decided the trial should proceed, the appeal court ruling said.
Kayem was acquitted and Al-Enzi was convicted, but then appealed his conviction arguing that the trial judge's refusal to grant a severance or mistrial caused a miscarriage of justice, the appeal court said.
The appeal court agreed with Al-Enzi's argument, set aside his conviction and ordered a new trial, which ended with a guilty verdict earlier this month.
According to the Crown at Al-Enzi's first trial, Zalal was allegedly murdered over a dispute about a handgun, the appeal court ruling said.
The gun allegedly belonged to Zalal but while he was in jail he loaned it to Al-Enzi, the ruling said. Zalal demanded the gun back when he was released but Al-Enzi allegedly did not want to return it, according to the Crown's position summarized in the appeal court ruling.