Kingston canal deaths trial hears 911 tape

Defence lawyers presented a 911 call to a Kingston, Ont., court that Zainab Shafia made to police before her death, in which she says her boyfriend was angry they had broken up and that he might try to kidnap her.

Defence lawyers presented a 911 call to a Kingston, Ont., court that Zainab Shafia made to police before her death, in which she says her boyfriend was angry they had broken up and that he might try to kidnap her.

The jury heard the call Tuesday during cross-examination of Ammar Wahid, Zainab's former boyfriend.

"Like he's been calling my house and you know like he keeps on like not trusting me ... If I don't like, you know, stay with him, he's gonna like kidnap me or something," Zainab is heard saying on the 911 tape.

However, soon after the tape was played, Crown prosecutors introduced police records detailing a police interview with Zainab, where she told them she only made the call to please her mother.

Prosecutors have argued that Wahid and Zainab, who were briefly married, had a relationship that was at the centre of a turbulent conflict in the Shafia family prior to the June 2009 deaths of Zainab, 19, her sisters, Sahar, 17, and Geeti Shafia, 13, as well as Rona Amir Mohammad, 50.

Their bodies were found in a submerged car at the bottom of the Rideau Canal.

Zainab's father Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 41, and their son, Hamed Mohammad Shafia, 20, have all pleaded not guilty to four counts of first-degree murder in their deaths.

On Tuesday afternoon, the court heard from two employees of a women's shelter that Zainab visited, as well as a Montreal police officer who went to the Shafia house to check out a complaint.

Emails describe couple's love affair

The Montreal family, originally from Afghanistan, did not approve of the couple's relationship, the court has heard. They also disagreed over whether Zainab should wear a hijab.

The court has heard that Zainab's father called a relative to say he wanted to kill Zainab because she was going to the library, going online, hanging out with friends and dating. Wahid, who was five years older than Zainab at the time, told court that when he and Zainab started their relationship, after he sent her a Valentine's Day card in 2008, she warned him to stay away from her brother Hamed.

"Be aware of my bro," she wrote him in an email. "If sometimes wanna talk come in the library. And if my bro is around act like complete stranger...I [don't] want to give him the slightest idea that we [are] friends."

About a month after they started dating in secret Zainab invited Wahid over to the family house when her parents were out. But Hamed found out and asked him to leave. He was polite about it, Wahid testified, but after that incident the family pulled Zainab out of school for several months in which she was barely allowed to leave her room.

Ammar Wahid finished testifying Tuesday morning. ((CBC))
The young couple managed to start seeing each other again in the spring of 2009, which is also when Zainab ran away to a women's shelter. Her mother convinced her to come home by promising to facilitate a marriage between Zainab and Wahid, he testified.

But the hastily arranged wedding, which took place in mid-May while Zainab's father was in Dubai on business, was a disaster, court has heard. No one from Wahid's family attended, and a Shafia family drama culminated in Yahya fainting and crying. Zainab's mother and brother convinced Zainab to end the marriage for the sake of her family, Wahid said. They divorced the next day.

"Obviously we loved each other, so it hurt both of us," Wahid told court Tuesday.

Emails from Zainab, entered as court exhibits, from June make it clear she still cared deeply for Wahid, ending one note with the signoff "ur wife...and best friend Zainab."

"One thing [I'm] really happy about is that it was my dream to marry u [and] I did it once," she wrote on June 2. "Even one day if [something] happens to us like dead I [won't] die with out my dream being full filled...We had an amazing love story 2gether."

Later that month, when Mohammad returned home from Dubai, he said he forgave her for marrying Wahid and even let her get a job and go back to her own school, Wahid said. But the Crown alleges that at the same time Mohammad was plotting to kill Zainab, and trying to recruit relatives to help.

It was also around that time that someone was conducting Internet searches on a computer used mostly by Hamed such as "where to commit a murder" and "can a prisoner have rights to sell his real estate."

With files from The Canadian Press