Edmonton Journal

Man who murdered his nephew ineligible for parole for 16 years

Sherwood Park funeral home operator shot teen after chaotic rush-hour chase

- JACKIE CARMICHAEL jcarmichae­l@postmedia.com

Convicted murderer Gamdur Brar will not be eligible for parole for 16 years, minus almost three years served since his May 7, 2021, arrest.

Sherwood Park resident Brar was found guilty of second-degree murder in September 2022, in the shooting death of his nephew. Friday's hearing was to determine his period of ineligibil­ity for parole within the automatic life sentence.

The Sherwood Park funeral home owner opened fire on his wife and nephew on a busy road after a chaotic chase during rush hour.

He was convicted of murder and dischargin­g a firearm with intent, which has a concurrent sentence of 7.5 years.

His nephew, Harmanjot Singh Bhattal, 19, died in the attack. Brar's wife, Satvir Brar, was driving Bhattal's Mitsubishi Lancer when Brar pulled alongside in his BMW Z4 and fired four shots from a handgun.

Court of King's Bench Justice Stephen Hillier noted police had issued a caution to Brar early in the morning of May 7, 2021, telling him to await the return of his wife.

After asking them to help find his “missing” wife, Brar assured them he'd driven the Z4 to the front driveway “in case Satvir needs anything.”

“That statement is profoundly disingenuo­us,” Hillier said.

“Half an hour later, the Z4 was smashed, Satvir was being driven to hospital, and Harman was dead,” Hillier said.

The defence's use of terms like “unfortunat­e incident, unforeseen, accident” doesn't fit with the facts, Hillier said.

He rejected defence arguments that the crime arose from a “sudden burst of anger or impulse,” noting that Brar ignored police advice to stay home and wait for her, then sought out, chased and targeted Satvir and the victim.

Hillier rejected the defence suggestion that “Satvir left (Brar) not out of fear, but to teach him a lesson.”

“While waiting in the parking lot she suddenly fled, having spotted the Z4,” he said.

Hillier said he had no doubt she was most profoundly afraid as she was chased and shot at.

On the drive to hospital, Satvir expressed overriding fear for her sons, asking police to “save” them, Hillier noted.

The context of aggression and infliction of fear threatens the community and cannot be condoned in the least, Hillier said.

“The brazen nature of this has shaken public safety,” Hillier said.

A case of a troubled spouse who left the matrimonia­l home and called out for assistance ended up costing Harman his life, Hillier said.

Mitigating circumstan­ces cited by the Crown included a high level of foresight, public execution, a lengthy chase through traffic, the number of shots he fired, ample additional ammunition, the use of a firearm, the breach of trust to his relatives, and later reporting firearms as “lost” days after the offences.

The defence had cited Brar's “individual­ized circumstan­ces” in asking for the minimum parole ineligibil­ity of 10 years, saying he was a very low risk to reoffend, and committed to rehabilita­tion, citing “strong family and community support,” and participat­ion in programs during custody.

Asked if he wished to say anything to add to the record for the justice to consider before sentencing, Brar demurred.

Lifetime weapons prohibitio­ns accompany both counts. A sample of his DNA will be kept on record. In both cases, he's credited with 1,065 days as of Friday.


The defence said Brar was beaten at home by his father and at school by his teachers, forced to be the head of his family after his father died young, and to arrange marriages for relatives.

He immigrated to Canada in 2001 with extended family, returning to India to marry his wife in 2003.

At the time of the incident, he had been forced to give up more lucrative work, and had started a driving school as well as a funeral home.

His businesses were suffering from the effects of the pandemic, and he was drinking to the point of blackout on a daily basis, said defence lawyer Ashdon Milroy.

Brar acknowledg­es that he suffered from alcohol abuse disorder at the time of the murder, but he did not recognize it at the time, she said.

He suffered from depression, Milroy said, and while in custody Brar joined AA and the Boot Camp program and came to understand his alcoholism, which his father and grandfathe­r also had.

Hillier took exception to Brar's reported lack of knowledge of his condition, noting in March 2017, Brar was the subject of a peace bond, including a 12-month condition to abstain from alcohol.

“So at least four years prior to this offence, the impact was clear to Mr. Brar,” Hillier said.

Brar's issues with alcohol don't reduce his responsibi­lity for the crime, Hillier said.

Having a father who was a bank manager, earning a bachelor's degree and various certificat­ions, Brar had “significan­t advantages” — support, education and material success, Hillier said.

“These opportunit­ies are beyond the reach of many who are in our courtrooms,” he said.

The brazen nature of this has shaken public safety.

 ?? FILES ?? Gamdur Brar, left, will serve 16 years in prison for the May 6, 2021, murder of his nephew, Harmanjot Singh Bhattal, right.
FILES Gamdur Brar, left, will serve 16 years in prison for the May 6, 2021, murder of his nephew, Harmanjot Singh Bhattal, right.

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