Appeal hearing for Shafia family wraps up in Toronto, judges reserve decision
By Ron Charles, CBC NewsPosted: Mar 04, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 04, 2016 3:37 PM ET
Mohammad Shafia, Hamed Shafia and Tooba Yahya are all serving life sentences with no chance of parole for 25 years for the 2009 murder of four female members of their family. Their defence teams are arguing in Ontario appeal court that they deserve a new trial. (Lars Hagberg/Reuters)
Expert testimony on the practice of so-called honour killing did not prejudice the jury against three members of the Shafia family convicted in 2012 of murdering four female relatives, the Crown argued in an Ontario appeal court Friday.
NRI Jaswinder with husband Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu). Jaswinder was killed by men allegedly hired by her mother Malkit Kaur (top right) and uncle Surjit Singh Badesha.
A Canadian court has stopped the deportation of a man and his sister to India to face trial for the honour killing of the man’s niece in Punjab on grounds that they may not get justice in India.
Surjit Badesha and his sister Malkit Sidhu had hired contract killers to eliminate Malkit’s daughter Jassi (Jaswinder) Sidhu in June 2000 because she had married a lower-caste autorickshaw driver in Punjab.
Canada-born Jaswinder had met autorickshaw driver Sukhwinder Singh (Mithu) in Jagraon during her visit to Punjab in 1996 and fallen in love with him. The two secretly married in 1999 when she came back from Canada to tie the knot.
Jaswinder was murdered in June 2000 near Sukhwinder’s village.
Punjab Police investigations confirmed it was an honour killing plotted by Jaswinder’s mother Malkit and her uncle Badesha while the two were in Canada.
Based on the evidence of 266 phone calls that Badesha made with the hired killers, India formally requested Canada in 2005 to extradite him and Malkit to face trial.
In May 2014, the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver ordered that Jaswinder’s uncle and mother must be deported to India to face trial.
But on Friday, British Columbia’s appeal court overturned the deportation order against the mother and uncle of Jaswinder , citing India’s “appalling” record in regard to prisoners.
Justice Ian Donald wrote in a two-to-one decision: “In my view, there is a valid basis for concern that the applicants will be subjected to violence, torture and/or neglect if surrendered.”
“Are your kids OK?” a senior official at Canada’s Embassy in Washington was asking.
“And then,” Roxanne Dube says in her French-accented lilt, “I knew something was not correct.”
As she would later discover, local authorities had contacted the U.S. State Department, which had in turn contacted the Canadian Embassy. Her unease turned to alarm as, at the urging of her embassy contact, she directed her driver to a hospital, where she was ushered into a VIP room. Someone handed her a piece of paper with a phone number to call for information. She did.
“I’m afraid I have bad news, I think we should meet,” Det. Rolando Garcia was saying. “And he said: ‘Jean is dead.’ I knew it was true because of the way he pronounced Jean’s name.”
Dube dropped the phone. Her world had imploded that sunny day on March 31, 2015. Dube could barely stagger outside.
Now 53, Dube had arrived from Ottawa with her two teen sons exactly two months earlier to take up her post as Canada’s consul general in Miami. It had been a whirlwind of wrapping up her old job — she had been director general for North America, helping oversee Canada’s consular network in the U.S. and Mexico — finding housing, moving, unpacking, getting the boys settled in school.
Melonie Biddersingh, shown in an undated photo, was murdered by her father, Everton Biddersingh. Her body was found in a burning suitcase 21 years ago.
By:The Canadian Press,Published on Mon Feb 08 2016
A man who drowned or starved his horrifically abused teenaged daughter to death two decades ago was handed a life sentence Monday, after court heard impact statements from three of the victim’s relatives.
Everton Biddersingh of Toronto, had little to say before Superior Court Justice Al O’Marra handed down the punishment for the “horrible” crime.
Everton Biddersingh, 60, of Toronto, had little to say before Superior Court Justice Al O’Marra handed down the punishment for the “horrible” crime.
“It will make no difference,” Biddersingh mumbled to the court.
A jury last month convicted Biddersingh of first-degree murder in the death of his 17-year-old daughter, Melonie Biddersingh. He will not be eligible for parole for 25 years.
In a written impact statement, the victim’s mother described the devastation she felt after learning in 2012 that her daughter’s charred remains had finally been identified.
“There is nothing — I mean absolutely nothing — Melonie would have ever done that could have led to the dreadful outcome of her murder,” Opal Austin said in the statement read to court.
“So, I am left wondering why for the rest of my life.”
The Crown maintained Biddersingh drowned or starved his daughter after a period of prolonged abuse, or that she died while he confined her in the apartment they shared with her stepmother, Elaine Biddersingh.
The teen, whose burned remains were found stuffed in a suitcase in an isolated industrial area north of Toronto, had come to Canada from Jamaica for a better life. Instead, by the time of her death, she weighed a skeletal 50 pounds and had 21 broken bones in various stages of healing. A piece of a vegetable was found in her vagina.
She had spent countless hours chained to furniture, stuffed in a tiny closet, or locked out on a balcony. Her father, according to one witness, would kick her and force the helpless victim’s head into a toilet and then flush.
Three people were charged Saturday with first-degree murder in the killings of two convenience store clerks in Edmonton Friday.
Laylin Delorme, 24, Colton Steinhauer, 27, and a 13-year-old boy who cannot be named are each charged with two counts of first-degree murder, robbery with a prohibited restricted firearm, being disguised with intent and other offences.
All three have criminal records and were prohibited from possessing firearms, police said. The boy had been scheduled to appear in court Friday on unrelated charges.
Police also named the clerk killed at the 61st Avenue Mac’s Convenience store as Ricky Massin Cenabre, 41.
Karanpal Bhangu, 35, was killed in one of the shootings. He is shown with his son Royce and his wife Kiran in this image from the “GoFundMe” website. (GoFundMe/Canadian Press)
Ricky Cenabre, 41, was identified Saturday as the victim in the Mac’s shooting at 109th Street. (gofundme.com)
Earlier, police identified Karanpal Bhangu, 35, as the clerk at the Mill Woods store who came to Canada from India just three months ago with his six-year-old son in order to join his wife, who’s been living here for four years.
Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan says there should be tougher legislation to better protect vulnerable, night-shift retail workers, who are often young people and immigrants.
Alberta Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says there will be a review of the rules.
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