NEWS

Mom, uncle of B.C. woman killed in India to remain in custody until bail hearing

01/09/2012 06:17 EST | Updated 03/10/2012 05:12 EST
VANCOUVER - The mother and uncle of a Maple Ridge, B.C., woman who was killed in India 11 years ago will remain in custody at least until a bail hearing.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 63, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 67, appeared in court Monday, just days after they were arrested on an extradition warrant related to the June 8, 2000 killing of Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu.

B.C. Supreme Court Judge Gregory Fitch ordered them to appear by video Wednesday when a date will be set for a bail hearing.

Crown counsel Deborah Strachan said the two are wanted in India on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, and federal lawyers will seek their continued incarceration.

"There are three grounds for detention under the Criminal Code, potentially," said Strachan outside court.

"The primary ground is that the persons sought are a flight risk. The secondary ground is that they may commit another criminal offence if they are released, and the tertiary ground is the interest of the administration of justice given the circumstances of the offences and the case."

She said the Crown is not seeking their detention on the primary grounds, meaning the Crown doesn't believe the two are a flight risk.

Michael Klein, Badesha's lawyer, declined to comment, saying he was not at liberty to discuss the case.

Avtar Dhinsa, Sidhu's lawyer, could not be reached for comment.

Strachan said Badesha and Sidhu are being held at the North Fraser Pretral Centre in Port Coquitlam, B.C.

During their court appearance, Badesha and Sidhu sat in the prisoner's box wearing long-sleeved, grey sweatshirt-like tops. She had glasses, and he, a dark turban.

A man, woman and baby sat behind the Maple Ridge residents in the public gallery.

Strachan told Fitch that an associate chief justice issued the warrants Thursday, and members of the RCMP executed the order Friday.

At the end of the appearance, Sidhu attempted to make physical contact with the man, woman and baby but was prevented from doing so and was whisked away by officials.

Outside of court, Strachan said it may take a couple weeks for the bail hearing to take place.

According to media reports in 2000, Jaswinder Sidhu and her husband Sukwinder Singh Sidhu were married against her family's wishes during a secret ceremony in India.

In July 2000, at least seven people ambushed the couple as they rode a scooter in a village near Sangrur, Punjab.

After suffering a severe beating, Sukwinder escaped but Jaswinder was eventually found dead in a canal.

At the time, Sidhu's brother had said his parents were opposed to the marriage because his mother was from the same village as his sister's new husband, and that's considered taboo in Sikh culture.

However, Harbinder Singh Sewak, co-author of the book"Justice for Jassi," has argued that he believes greed and money played a role in the killings.

The RCMP said in a news release Friday that seven individuals have already been convicted in India on charges of murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder in the case.

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