Brampton man killed after being allowed to prove innocence in 2018 fatal beating
Peel police call shooting targeted, but say it’s too early to connect murder to court case
A Brampton man shot dead last week was killed the day after a Brampton judge granted him a rare motion in his bid to prove his innocence in a shocking 2018 beating murder.
Guryodh Singh Khattra, 26, was shot and killed at his parents’ Brampton home Wednesday in a killing Peel police have called targeted.
He was one of several men charged in the March 2018 beating murder of 21year-old Paviter Singh Bassi. Three other accused have pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and have since been sentenced.
Singh Khattra pleaded not guilty and was facing trial by judge alone at the time of his killing.
At his trial, his defence argued a different fourth person had been involved in Singh Bassi’s killing, not Singh Khattra.
The prosecution closed its case in March, after which his defence launched a rare “innocence at stake” application arguing that evidence from a confidential informant implicated the other person.
According to court documents, the informant told investigators Singh Bassi’s killers had told him the other person “f---ed (Singh Bassi) up,” naming a man who had testified against Singh Khattra at trial.
“I find the statement is critical to the accused in raising a reasonable doubt,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Nancy L. Dennison wrote in her decision granting the defence application last Tuesday. “The statement relates to a key issue in this case — the identity of the fourth person on the field.”
The other man was initially also charged with the first-degree murder of Singh Bassi. According to Dennison’s decision, his charge was withdrawn in exchange for his testimony against Singh Khattra.
In her decision, Dennison ordered the Crown to provide the defence with transcripts of the informant’s meeting with investigators, and some of the investigating officer’s notes. The judge added that the Crown had the option to drop its case before deciding to proceed.
According to defence lawyer Louis P. Strezos, Singh Khattra went to court Wednesday morning with the expectation the Crown would advise of its intentions regarding his continued prosecution, but the matter was adjourned to Friday.
He was shot dead that afternoon at his parents’ home on Rushbrook Drive, where he had been staying on bail. Singh Khattra’s mother was also wounded. She was taken to hospital with non-lifethreatening injuries.
“The Khattra family is in a state of shock and mourn the loss of Guryodh,” Strezos said in a statement.
Criminal defence lawyer Ian McCuaig, who is not involved in the case, told the Star that the decision to grant an “innocence at stake” application is rare because confidential informant evidence is given important privilege, intended to protect those who aid investigators. He added: “You have to be able to prove that this person has some information that could change the outcome of the trial.”
The Ministry of the Attorney General did not respond to questions about the Crown’s position on Singh Khattra’s case.
Peel police spokesperson Const. Himmet Gill said it’s too early in the investigation to connect Singh Khattra’s murder to his court case.
“It is an avenue we are looking at in this homicide, we’re going to investigate every lead we do have,” Gill said.
Singh Bassi was beaten to death on March 19, 2018, near Sandalwood Heights Secondary School, in an incident that shocked his community. Investigators initially said he had been killed by a group of men who beat him with sticks.
Singh Bassi “was brutally beaten and left to die in a field in front of a high school in broad daylight,” his sister told the Brampton Guardian at the time.
Karanvir Singh Bassi and Harminder Bassi have pleaded guilty to manslaughter and were both sentenced to six years and 11 months.
Gurraj Bassi, who also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was sentenced to six years and 10 months.
Singh Khattra’s case is set to return to court at a future date.