New Brunswick

Accused couldn't accept marriage breakup: Crown

Prosecutors allege the man at the centre of a first-degree murder trial in Fredericton wrote letters threatening the life of his estranged wife.

Prosecutors allege the man at the centre of a first-degree murder trial in Fredericton wrote letters threatening the life of his estranged wife.

Abdul Bari, 36, is charged with the beating death of his wife, 26-year-old Shaila Bari, whose decomposed body was discovered in her Fredericton apartment July 22, 2003. Police estimate Bari had been dead for six days. Officers entered her apartment with a key obtained from the landlord after friends reported her missing.

Bari was studying business at the University of New Brunswick and worked part time at a city drycleaner.

Fredericton Police Corporal Anthony Coady was the first Crown witness to testify, and told the court that Bari was found beaten and strangled in her Fredericton apartment. He also introduced a videotape showing the woman's apartment and her battered body.

Crown Prosecutor Hilary Drain told the eight-man four-woman jury that there were no eyewitnesses to Bari's murder, but said circumstantial evidence would convince them of the killer's identity.

Drain promised to introduce letters written by Abdul Bari to his family in Bangledesh. She said the letters reveal that Bari refused to accept the break-up of the marriage. In one, Drain said Bari wrote if he couldn't keep his wife, he wouldn't let her live.

Bari moved to Canada from Bangladesh approximately 10 years ago. He returned home in the mid-1990s to marry Shaila Bari, and brought her to Canada. The two were separated for approximately two years at the time of her death.

Drain told the jury that evidence would prove Abdul Bari was out in the early morning hours of July 16, 2003 and had the opportunity to commit the crime.

Drain also said gloves found near the scene were not available at retail stores, but were obtained from the Sheraton Hotel, Bari's workplace at the time of his wife's death.

Five weeks have been set aside to hear the trial. Bari is not fluent in English and a court interpreter is translating the proceedings in Bengali, his native tongue.