Supreme Court re­stores ex­tra­di­tion or­ders in B.C. ‘hon­our killing’ case

Truro Daily News - - CANADA - BY JIM BRON­SKILL THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The Supreme Court of Canada has cleared the path for ex­tra­di­tion of two B.C. res­i­dents to In­dia to face mur­der charges in a so­called hon­our killing.

In a 9-0 judg­ment Fri­day, the high court set aside a Bri­tish Columbia Court of Ap­peal rul­ing that put the brakes on ex­tra­di­tion over con­cerns about whether the two ac­cused would be fairly treated in In­dia.

The Supreme Court also re­stored fed­eral sur­ren­der or­ders in the high-pro­file case.

Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu was found with her throat slit on the bank of a canal in Pun­jab, In­dia, in June 2000.

In­dian author­i­ties ac­cuse her mother, Malkit Kaur Sidhu, and un­cle, Sur­jit Singh Bade­sha, of con­spir­acy to com­mit mur­der.

Sidhu and Bade­sha, who live in the Van­cou­ver area, al­legedly or­dered the killing after Jassi se­cretly mar­ried a rick­shaw driver in­stead of a wealthy, older man cho­sen for her.

In 2014, a Bri­tish Columbia judge com­mit­ted them for ex­tra­di­tion to face the charges, prompt­ing then-jus­tice min­is­ter Peter MacKay to is­sue sur­ren­der or­ders, con­di­tional on sev­eral as­sur­ances from In­dia.

Sidhu and Bade­sha, who are Cana­dian cit­i­zens, suc­cess­fully ap­pealed the ex­tra­di­tion in the Court of Ap­peal on grounds the min­is­ter did not prop­erly con­sider the sub­stance of as­sur­ances con­cern­ing the pair’s health and safety in In­dian cus­tody.

Both the mother and un­cle have health is­sues. Sidhu, 67, has been ad­mit­ted to hospi­tal for treat­ment of a heart con­di­tion while in Cana­dian cus­tody. Bade­sha, 72, suf­fers from a num­ber of age-re­lated con­di­tions that have re­quired med­i­cal care.

In its judg­ment Fri­day, the Supreme Court said MacKay was aware of the risks and “treated them se­ri­ously.”

The court said it was rea­son­able for the min­is­ter to con­clude the pair did not face a sub­stan­tial risk of tor­ture or mis­treat­ment upon re­ceiv­ing as­sur­ances from the In­dian gov­ern­ment to ad­dress his con­cerns.

It was also rea­son­able for MacKay to find, based on a broader view of the case, that the sur­ren­der of Sidhu and Bade­sha would “not be oth­er­wise un­just or op­pres­sive,” Jus­tice Michael Mol­daver wrote on be­half of the court.

“The grav­ity of the al­leged of­fence in this case was par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to the min­is­ter,” Mol­daver said. “Mr. Bade­sha and Ms. Sidhu are wanted in In­dia for al­leged crim­i­nal con­duct of the most hor­rific na­ture — namely, par­tic­i­pa­tion in a con­spir­acy to com­mit the hon­our killing of a fam­ily mem­ber.”

Sidhu and Bade­sha were among 13 peo­ple charged in con­nec­tion with Jassi’s mur­der. Three are serv­ing life sen­tences.

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