Zaineddin Al Aalak was charged with second-degree murder and causing indignity to a body after the remains of his father, Mohamed Al Aalak, were found on July 17, 2017.
On Monday, Al Aalak’s jury trial began at the grandstand on the Calgary Stampede grounds where trials are being held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Defence lawyer Alain Hepner told the jury in opening remarks he would be focusing on the mental state of Al Aalak and said psychiatric evidence would weigh in.
Crown prosecutor Carla MacPhail outlined her case for the jury and said that the Crown’s theory is that Al Aalak did not suffer from a mental illness that rendered him incapable of understanding what he had done to his father.
For its first witness, the Crown called the accused’s mother, Eman Sahib, to testify.
Sahib testified that she and her husband were living separately because child services had said he could no longer live with her after allegations were made that he hit two of their daughters.
The Crown submitted text messages between Sahib and Zaineddin Al Aalak that started on July 17 as evidence.
Sahib said she had travelled to Iraq with her daughters while her two sons stayed in Calgary with their father.
She testified that while in Iraq, she had asked Zaineddin where his father was after communication between the two stopped.
Sahib said she was “very afraid” and testified that at one point, Zaineddin said, “He had a ticket and he must have left somewhere,” when asked where Mohamed was.
When cross-examined, Sahib testified that her son had experienced psychological problems since he was 16 and was hospitalized for several days when he was 18.
Sahib said that sometimes her son would talk to himself and that one time he told her “he was God and he was going to live forever.”
The trial is expected to last 19 days.