WARNING: This story contains disturbing content
A family emergency by a key witness has delayed the murder trial of Langley’s KerryAnn Lewis and pushed it into next year.
Lewis is on trial for the July 22, 2018 death of her seven-year-old daughter, Aaliyah Rosa. She was charged with first degree murder two years ago.
Aaliyah’s body was found in Lewis’s apartment that evening. The Crown prosecutors allege that Lewis first sedated and then drowned Aaliyah in the apartment’s bathtub.
The trial had originally been scheduled to finish hearing from witnesses for the Crown’s case in November, but COVID exposures and positive tests for several witnesses, along with health issues of the accused herself, had slowed things down and disrupted the schedule.
On Nov. 18, Lewis herself collapsed in court just minutes after Justice Martha Devlin had announced plans to pause the trial to get Lewis seen by a doctor.
The trial resumed on Monday, Dec. 14 after a break of several weeks, and quickly got through several of the remaining witnesses, including store clerks who encountered Lewis on the day of Aaliyah’s death, and a remaining RCMP officer who was part of the investigation.
There was just one witness remaining, Dr. Lisa Steele, a pathologist who had testified in November that a lack of oxygen caused Aaliyah’s death.
Steele had not completed her full testimony, and was scheduled to return this Thursday, Dec. 17.
A family emergency meant Steele could not testify, said Crown prosecutor Kristen Le Noble.
Because Devlin had already determined that the trial might take longer than the time allotted, the weeks of Jan. 4 to 8 and 11 to 15 have been booked to allow the trial to continue.
LeNobel said the Crown will wrap up its witnesses once Steele’s testimony is finished, and Marilyn Sanford, Lewis’s defense lawyer, will be able to call evidence if she chooses.
The Crown and defense will then give their closing arguments.
If convicted of first degree murder, Lewis will be given a mandatory sentence of life with no parole for at least 25 years.