The Murder of My Best Friend, the Documentary Telling Our Story and How the Courts Failed to Provide Justice
'See No Evil' - "The Man In The Red Jacket"
The documentary is something I have not even watched yet myself. Valentine's night at Edmond's skytrain station two young men were intoxicated and picking fights with strangers. Vikilani attacked me, my best friend stepped in to protect me, and Sellam stabbed him in the heart.
Burnaby Now wrote an article geared more towards what occurred, as well as the documentary and what it was focused on, the police work and video footage captured.
I would love if you all have the time and interest to read this article and watch the documentary. I have found writing and sharing my story has helped me deal with the random, mixed feelings that arise.
Four years have gone by, and it really doesn’t feel like it. It was difficult re-living this, but our story is finally told. When this happened, the media portrayed us as the instigators, because James had a criminal record and was recently released from jail.
Taitusi Vikilani was captain of the rugby team at his high school and attended church, even had his pastor put in a good word for him at the pretrial. The media even went as far as to go to his high school and interview classmates, because it was super important to get the opinion of 10th graders.
One of the students said they didn't think Taitusi would ever do something like this. Well guess what, he did. Six foot three, captain of the rugby team, assaulted a petite female through the window of her vehicle. As he yelled in my face, I asked him “Do you realize you’re yelling at a girl?” And his response “I don't give a fuck you’re a girl!” And then proceeded to punch me. And of course James got out of the vehicle to protect me. After James was stabbed in the heart, and hit the pavement Taitusi stomped on his face.
This kid was drunk, out in public, picking fights with people, swearing racial profanities, and attacking young women without a care. But… he wouldn’t do something like this! Taitusi Vikilani was granted bail and lived the year with only a 9 PM curfew, and weapons ban until the actual trial. He was pleading not guilty. James was stabbed in the heart and died, his entire family and I? Our hearts shattered, Taitusi Vikilani pleads not guilty. So not only is he not taking responsibility for what he did, he is dragging all of us through the trial process.
Jesse Sellam pleads guilty, which means it doesn’t go to trial, they make a deal. The most horrendous sentencing, a true injustice. He was sentenced to four years, but also here in Canada, any time spent waiting for trial is counted as time and a half off your sentence. He basically plead guilty to stabbing and killing a person and only did three years. With no probation, no conditions or requirements to live in a half way house upon his release. How is three years enough time served for taking a life?
Now Taitusi, he was found guilty, but only received a sentence of five months with three years probation. This kid instigates the fight, assaults me, I watched him wind up and stomp on James' face as his body lay in shock, lifeless, and stiff on the pavement, blood pouring from his heart, Taitusi winds up to do it again, but I sprint as fast as I can and tackle him before he could deliver another blow. Jesse and Taitusi take off running.
So, five months? Taitusi is not a Canadian citizen! His parents moved here from Tonga when he was very young, and never applied for his citizenship. If the judge were to sentence him to more than six months he would have been deported. If you ask me he should have been deported! He is 18 years old behaving like this, how was he planning on contributing without his citizenship? In my opinion, he deserves to be deported, living in Canada is a privilege that should be cherished and respected.
So finally with this documentary and the article in burnaby now, our story is told! How it was wrong place, wrong time, how we were attacked by drunk boys who knew no consequence. And James was a remarkable person, and I loved him deeply.
My questions for you!
Do you feel five months is enough? Do you feel three years is enough? Especially to get out with no probation or curfew.
The pretrial and trial were agony, absolute torture. The defense lawyers asked me the most horrendous questions, telling me I didn't see what I saw, that we deserved what happened. "If you cant tell me what type of shoes he was wearing, might I suggest you didn't see him stomp on his face?" How this type of question and treatment is allowed. No wonder people don't want to stand up and charge those whom may deserve it, who wants to be treated as if they are the criminal.