A family member leaves the courthouse at 361 University Avenue in downtown Toronto on Oct. 17, 2012.
Credits: ERNEST DOROSZUK/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency
TORONTO — A Toronto woman accused in the 2011 death of her disabled daughter was granted bail Wednesday, hours after police upgraded her charge from manslaughter to first-degree murder.
Cindy Ann Sherry Ali, 42, was initially charged a year after police responded to a 911 call her home in the city's Malvern neighbourhood on Feb. 9, 2011, and was out on bail for the manslaughter charge.
But surrendered herself to police early Wednesday morning following the upgraded charge.
"She's facing a charge of first-degree murder now," Ali's lawyer Keely Duncan said outside of court after her client was granted bail. "I can't imagine that's easy. I don't think she's very happy right now, but she's just waiting for her day in court."
She was released on $100,000 consent bail, with a $50,000 deposit to the court.
As part of her bail conditions, Ali is required to check in with police three times a week, remain in Ontario and live at the same residence where her daughter died.
Unless she's within 15 metres of one of her four sureties — her husband, pastor, mother-in-law or sister — she has to remain under house arrest.
"We have been conducting some further forensic tests and consulting with the crown attorneys in this case," lead investigator Det.-Sgt. Frank Skubic told reporters outside court.
"Grounds were established (for the) decision to upgrade the charge to first-degree murder.
Investigations are sometimes simple, sometimes lengthy. This was an exceptionally lengthy investigation. There are a number of facets involved."
When police arrived at the townhouse on that day in 2011, they found Ali's 16-year-old daughter Cynara Amiee Ali, who suffered from cerebral palsy, without vital signs. She was taken to hospital and died two days later.
Initially, police were told there was a home invasion. It is alleged Ali made up an elaborate story about two masked men who burst into her townhouse, one man leading her room to room looking for a package while the other stayed with her daughter.
The woman said that by the time the bandits left, her daughter had stopped breathing.
Ali was charged with manslaughter, criminal negligence causing death and two counts of fabricating evidence in March.
Sitting in the prisoner's box in court Wednesday, Ali, wearing an unzipped wool winter coat, thick, black glasses and dark pants, wiped her eyes as she listened to Judge John McMahon read her bail conditions.
Her husband, Allan Ali, is adamantly defending her innocence.
"Whatever comes out in the media is a one-sided argument," he said outside court. "Let's not forget that in the past there has been cases where mothers have been convicted and they've had to rescind all these charges. I believe my wife is innocent."
There is a court-ordered publication ban on evidence presented in this case.
Ali's next scheduled court appearance is Nov. 19.