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TONY BLAIS, COURT BUREAU
Defence lawyer Peter Royal does not know why Julian Diep, 52, fatally stabbed the much younger Chinese woman he had wed in an arranged marriage. However, he argued yesterday Diep is not a murderer and the Crown has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he intended to kill Xing Zhen Li, 28, on Aug. 10, 2002.
“This overwhelmingly tragic case is a case of manslaughter and not murder,” said Royal. “There is no evidence of a motive. I searched high and low for a reason here.”
Royal said the slaying was “totally out of character” for Diep, a long-time steel worker, and he was suffering from depression at the time, was sleep deprived and had consumed a combination of alcohol and anti-depressant medication.
Regarding evidence from Li’s mother that Diep had called her in China and told her he was going to kill her daughter and how he would do it, Royal said inconsistencies in her testimony made it “unsafe” to accept.
Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga called the case “clearly a domestic homicide,” and argued that the motive was Diep was angry that Li was leaving him for another man.
“There can be no doubt Diep was upset with her leaving,” he said, noting that Diep’s supposed suicide letter said to tell Li’s boyfriend not to take another man’s wife because it isn’t worth it, and that he should go to China and sponsor one.
Huyser-Wierenga argued other evidence showing intent included that Diep’s choice of a large butcher knife as the weapon and the fact the force of the single blow to the chest was hard enough to break her sternum in two.
“This woman didn’t have a chance to defend herself,” he said. “She was lying in bed and the attack was on.”
Diep is charged with first-degree murder for Li’s stabbing death at their downtown apartment.
Court has heard Diep was depressed because Li was divorcing him, she had a new boyfriend and was in the process of moving out.
Diep’s sister, Trinh Sims, earlier testified from California that Diep had called in tears, saying he had killed his wife and was going to commit suicide. She then called police and officers went to the 10020 103 Ave. building. After police interviewed Li’s mother, charges against Diep were raised from second-degree murder.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Sheila Greckol is slated to give a decision on Dec. 8.