Medical emergency halts Shafia family murder trial
Published Thursday, November 3, 2011 11:58AM EDT
A "fairly serious" medical emergency has brought a high-profile murder trial to a halt in Kingston, Ont.
Three members of Montreal's Shafia family were due to appear in court on Thursday, but only two were present.
Parents Mohammad Shafia and Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their son Hamed Mohammad Shafia are accused of killing four women in their family.
On Thursday morning, Judge Robert Maranger told the jury that one of the accused had fallen ill.
"It was a medical emergency, a fairly serious one," Maranger said.
While the judge did not say who had the medical problem, Mohammad Shafia was the only accused person who was not in court on Thursday.
Maranger adjourned the trial for the time being and said he will meet with the lawyers on Tuesday for an update on the medical situation.
"I can't say exactly how long the delay is going to be," he said. "Obviously we want to keep it at a minimum...this is a completely unforeseen event."
The judge said he would update the jury no later than Wednesday.
Shafia, along with his wife and son, are each charged with four counts of first-degree murder.
Prosecutors allege the trio killed 19-year Zainab Shafia, 17-year-old Sahar Shafia and 13-year-old Geeti Shafia and 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad, who was the first of Shafia's two wives in a polygamous marriage.
The four victims were found inside a submerged car that was pulled out of the Rideau Canal in June 2009.
With files from The Canadian Press