Key players in Shafia trial react to verdict

CBC News has compiled some reaction from the key players in the Shafia trial after a jury convicts Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya and his son Hamed of four counts of first-degree murder.
From left: Mohammad Shafia, Tooba Yahya and Hamed Shafia were convicted of first-degree murder on Sunday. (CBC)

Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Yahya and their son Hamed were convicted of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of four family members following 15 hours of deliberation by a Kingston, Ont., jury.

The bodies of Zainab, 19, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, along with Shafia's first wife Rona Mohammad Amir, 50, were found inside a car in a lock on the Rideau Canal on June 30, 2009.

During the three-month trial, Crown prosecutors claimed the four women were apparent victims of so-called "honour" killings after betraying the family's traditional Afghan values. The defence maintained the deaths were an accident, the result of a joyride gone awry.

CBC News has compiled reactions from the key players in the Shafia murder trial and in the justice system.

"It is difficult to conceive of a more heinous, more despicable, more honourless crime … The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded, shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your completely twisted concept of honour … that has absolutely no place in any civilized society." — Ontario Superior Court Judge Robert Maranger

"We are not criminal. We are not murderers. We didn’t commit the murder and this is unjust." — Mohammad Shafia

"I’m not a murderer and I’m a mother — a mother." — Tooba Yahya

"Sir, I did not drown my sisters anywhere." — Hamed Shafia

"This jury found that four strong, vivacious and freedom-loving women were murdered by their own family in the most troubling of circumstances. We all think of these four, wonderful women now who died needless deaths. This verdict sends a very clear message about our Canadian values and the core principles in a free and democratic society that all Canadians enjoy and even visitors to Canada enjoy." — Crown prosecutor Gerard Larrhuis

""[Mohammad Shafia] wasn't convicted for what he did. He was convicted for what he said." — Peter Kemp, lawyer for Mohammad Shafia

"While I am pleased to see the verdict finding Mohammad Shafia, Hamed Shafia, Tooba Mohammad Yahya guilty of murder, we need also to be reminded of the four innocent lives that were taken, needlessly and senselessly, by their own family members. There is no place in our Canadian society, or anywhere around our world, where a horrendous murder such as this should not be completely and thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." — Kingston police Chief Stephen Tanner

"To say I am satisfied seems to fail to address this horrible tragedy — the fact that Rona, Zainab, Sahar and Geeti had their lives so violently taken from them; the fact that a family was ripped apart and a community shocked." — Kingston police Insp. Brian Begbie

"I am devastated by hearing the verdict … I am confident that I can convince anyone who are able to think like a human being that the accused people are absolutely innocent of the [charges] based on the same evidences that were presented in the trial." — Moosa Hadi, trial witness who was hired as a private investigator by the Shafia family

"I felt quite emotional. I felt a sense of relief that this jury that had such a burden put on them had worked hard to come to what I believe was the right verdict." — Joanne Gunning, trial spectator

"This government is committed to protecting women and other vulnerable persons from all forms of violence and to hold perpetrators accountable for their acts." — Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson

With files from The Canadian Press