A United Nations gang associate has been convicted of aggravated assault and acquitted of the more serious charge of attempted murder in connection to a shooting outside a Surrey strip club nearly seven years ago.
According to an Oct. 16 B.C. Supreme Court decision posted online last week, the accused, Aram Ali, was in a Lincoln Navigator with United Nations gang leader Barzan Tilli-Choli outside T-Barz night club on Feb. 15, 2009.
As a Range Rover carrying gang rival Tyler Willock and three others left the club, Ali opened fire from the Lincoln, firing eight shots from his semi-automatic pistol – four of which went through the target vehicle’s front window. Willock, who the Crown claimed was the intended target, was not hit, but the driver (who can’t be identified due to a publication ban) was struck in the shoulder and his ear was grazed.
Tilli-Choli and Ali sped back to Vancouver, Ali throwing the pistol out of the window not far from the scene.
At trial, Ali did not deny shooting the gun, but insisted he never meant to hurt anyone.
While the Crown contended Ali intended to kill, Ali testified he only fired his gun to scare off the person he believed to be driving the Range Rover.
The Crown pointed to an intercepted conversation Ali had with Tilli-Choli, as well as testimony from Ali’s former girlfriend – both of which were rejected by Justice Heather Holmes as unreliable.
She concluded there was insufficient evidence Ali aimed to kill someone that night, but said it was clear he intended to cause injury.
“Nothing in the evidence, including Mr. Ali’s explanation, which I have rejected, raises a reasonable doubt that he intended his shots to hit a person,” wrote Holmes in her decision. “Although the evidence is not sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Ali intended, specifically, to kill, there can be no doubt that he intended to wound.”
In addition to aggravated assault, the judge also found Ali guilty of discharging a firearm with intent to wound.
Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 4 in B.C Supreme Court in Vancouver.
Tilli-Choli is already in prison after pleading guilty in 2013 to conspiring to murder the Bacon brothers.