The Crown’s case against the young man accused in the beating murder of North Delta teen Laura Szendrei is being laid out in a Surrey court room this week.
The preliminary inquiry opened in Surrey Provincial Court Monday but the actual trial will come later, if a judge determines there’s sufficient evidence to proceed.
The 19-year-old male who was arrested in February, 2011 cannot be named because he was 17 at the time of Szendrei’s death.
Szendrei, a 15-year-old student at Burnsview Secondary, was found badly beaten in Delta’s Mackie Park on Sept. 25, 2010 and later died in hospital.
Emotions were high during Monday’s court proceedings. Szendrei’s family and friends wept often as the Crown questioned potential witnesses. At one point, Laura’s father called the accused a “weasel.”
The accused teen hung his head and looked down inside the plexiglass prisoner’s box and showed little emotion.
Details of the preliminary inquiry are subject to a publication ban and cannot be reported.
Szendrei’s killing continues to send shockwaves through the community, according to Delta Mayor Lois Jackson.
“Even though it’s been two years it’s very alive in people’s memory,” she said. “Nothing of course will bring her back but we still have a major sense of loss in our community and a loss of community trust for that small neighbourhood sense of North Delta.”
Jackson said changes were immediately made to improve safety at Mackie Park.
“We went in right away and cleared out all the underbrush so you could see people and so you could be seen,” she said.
“It is certainly very, very different than it was prior to the incident and it is much safer.”
The preliminary inquiry is scheduled to continue to Oct. 4.