As expected, Ontario’s top court has postponed a hearing of an appeal by three members of the Shafia family of Montreal, who were convicted of murdering four other family members in a mass honour killing. The hearing, originally scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario on Dec. 14, has been put off because of the surprise claim by one of the three convicted killers, Hamed Shafia (inset), who is bringing an application to admit fresh evidence.
The youngest of the trio now claims he was under 18 at the time of the murders in June 2009 and therefore eligible to seek trial and sentencing as a youth. He claims he was born in Afghanistan on Dec. 30, 1991. Hamed, along with his father Mohammad Shafia, now 62, and his mother Tooba Yahya, now 45, were each convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. If Hamed were tried and convicted as a youth, he would be eligible for a much shorter period of parole ineligibility. It is expected that the hearing of the appeals will be held in early March.
The three convicted family killers claim, in their key appeal document filed with the court, that they were victims of “cultural stereotyping” and “overwhelmingly prejudicial evidence” that should not have been admitted at their murder trial.
The bodies of Shafia sisters, Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti, 13, and of Roma Amir, 50, who was Mohammad Shafia’s first wife, were found in a submerged car in a shallow canal in eastern Ontario on June 30, 2009. The polygamous Afghan family settled in Montreal in 2007.