WARNING: This story contains disturbing content
The murder trial of Langley’s KerryAnn Lewis will continue, and could stretch out into the summer, after a ruling by a judge in New Westminster Supreme Court on Thursday, April 15.
Justice Martha Devlin said she will allow one final witness to testify in the case – Dr. Marc Del Bigio, a neuropathologist and professor at the University of Manitoba.
Del Bigio has been called by the Crown prosecutors as a rebuttal witness, to counter testimony offered by the defence’s expert witness, pediatric neuropathologist Dr. Christopher Dunham.
At issue is the exact cause of death of Aaliyah Rosa, Lewis’s seven-year-old daughter, who was found dead on the floor of Lewis’s Langley apartment on July 22, 2018.
The Crown has held that Aaliyah was killed after Lewis gave the child a combination of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, and then drowned or attempted to drown her in her apartment’s bathtub.
Dunham, who practices at B.C. Children’s Hospital, said that Aaliyah’s death, at least in part, was likely linked to a pre-existing condition, hydrocephalus, which means that her brain was swollen.
Blows to Aaliyah’s head, which might not have been fatal in a person without the condition, could have played a major role in her death, Dunham testified.
Dunham was called as a witness late in the trial, and the Crown has to ask Devlin for permission to call Del Bigio.
Devlin agreed with the Crown’s arguments, but did not release her reasons on Thursday.
The bulk of the brief Thursday morning hearing was taken up with trying to schedule the lawyers, judge, and final witness, after the trial of Lewis has already gone on far longer than originally expected.
Originally scheduled to take place last fall, the trial was extended due to COVID-19 illnesses and exposures among several of the witnesses, who included BC Ambulance paramedics and police officers.
Lewis’s own health problems also halted the trial a few times. She collapsed in court on one occasion with an audible thud.
Devlin is overseeing other trials in the coming weeks, and the Crown prosecutors are trying other murders.
The most likely dates for the resumption of the trial are May 31 to June 4, or June 21 to 25, the latter of which would extend the trial into the summer.
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