Jury to start deliberating in trial of teen accused of second-degree murder in fatal stabbing of Jannai Dopwell-Bailey

"Heartbroken listening to what happened to my child," said Charla Dopwell, mom of 16-year-old Jannai, fatally stabbed outside his Montreal school two years ago. The teen accused of second-degree murder is on trial. Alyssia Rubertucci reports.

By Alyssia Rubetucci

Jury deliberations are set to begin Friday in the nearly month-long trial for a teenager accused of second-degree murder in connection with the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey outside a high school in Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges two years ago.

The accused in the case was also 16 when he was charged, and can’t be named due to a publication ban.

Jannai’s mother and other family members were in court on Friday, hoping, they say, to get justice for Jannai. 

Jannai Dopwell-Bailey. (Credit: Onica John)

“It’s hard for me especially this morning,” said Charla Dopwell, Jannai’s mother. “When the judge spoke, I was very touched and heartbroken listening to what happened to my child, going over the same thing again and again, it’s just hard.”

Superior Court Justice Annie Émond summarized the evidence brought forward over the last weeks, including what witnesses described as panic on Jannai’s face, after being stabbed multiple times just after he exited his school on Oct. 18, 2021.

The teen tried to get help inside Programme Mile End before police and paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead in hospital. 

“I love him, I miss him,” said Dopwell. “It’s two years, I’m still thinking I’m going to see him sometime. I’m looking for him, especially this time of the year, Christmas.” 

Charla Dopwell, mother of Jannai Dopwell-Bailey. (Credit: Alyssia Rubertucci, CityNews image)

The judge spent most of the day giving instructions to the 12-jurors surrounding the evidence to consider,, including a social media video posted an hour after Dopwell-Bailey’s stabbing, of a masked person, allegedly the accused, dancing and brandishing a knife.

“It is for the judge to instruct the jury about the law that applies in the case, to comment on the evidence and apply the law to it,” said Simon Robin, crown prosecutor. “But the end of the day, it is going to be for the jury to apply the instructions to the evidence and reach the verdict unanimously.”

The accused has pleaded not guilty.

“Her son is gone, it’s final, so people have to be made aware how easily this can happen,” said Maxine George, Jannai’s cousin. “If they don’t do something so that the youths can see that there’s consequences to their actions and think what could happen as a result, maybe that will deter them?”

It’s not yet certain how long deliberations will take, but Dopwell says she’s looking to move forward from the trial and heal.

“I pray for power and strength for my son, because my son, he would’ve like me to be strong for him,” she said. “I hope to get justice for my son, that is what I would like to see come out of the trial.”

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