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Family of slain Edmonton high school student express frustrations with courts

In 2022, a high school student was swarmed, beaten and stabbed to death in Edmonton. Two years later, one of the seven young people accused in his death is standing trial.

Because the victim and his attackers were all minors at the time, the Youth Criminal Justice Act prevents journalists from naming them, their families, or the place where the fatal attack occurred.

As witness testimony continued Friday, the judge had to temporarily stop the proceedings, because of cries ringing out through the courtroom.

The victim’s mother was inconsolable and needed a break to compose herself before court was able to continue.

The cousins of the teen who was killed say the mother hasn’t been the same since he died.

“She’s a shell of what she used to be. Her vibrancy, her zest for life, her reason for living is gone,” one said.

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They feel the witnesses, including a young woman who was in the car with two of the attackers immediately before and after the beating, were not sharing everything they know on the stand.

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“All these people have very selective memories as to those events and it’s just so frustrating. It seems like they’re making a mockery out of the justice system. We have waited two years to be here,” the cousin said.

They’re also frustrated with the publication bans in the case.

“It’s unfortunate that we can’t say his name anymore, because of the publication ban on the victim.”

And they believe the public has a right to know the names of his attackers, too.

“I personally believe, with the level of violence we’ve seen in this crime — they had knives, they had hockey sticks, thye used bb guns on him and damaged his body so severely — people should know if they’re next to someone in a classroom that they did something like that.”

They say the hardest part of the trial so far, is knowing their loved one was alive immediately after the attack, standing and reaching for his backpack before collapsing.

“I hoped that when the attack first stated he would lose consciousness right away, so he wouldn’t have to feel pain, from the family perspective,” another cousin said.

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“It was really hard for us to learn that he actually didn’t lose consciousness, he experienced it.”

They are aware of video of the attack that they expect will be played in court, they’re dreading having to watch it — but say they will, because it shows the final moments of their cousin’s life.

“We deserve closure, as to what happened.”

The trial will continue Monday, with two other jury trials for additional accused scheduled to begin later this year.

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