Culture & Lifestyle / BC Court Grants Judicial Review In Jassi Sidhu Murder Case

BC Court Grants Judicial Review In Jassi Sidhu Murder Case

Culture & Lifestyle Feb 27, 2016

The British Columbia Court of Appeals has overturned an extradition order for the mother and uncle of Jaswinder Sidhu, who was brutally murdered in Punjab in 2000. 

The judicial review came on the basis that her mother, Malkit Sidhu, and uncle, Surjit Badesha, might not receive a fair trial in India. 

The decision was made by Justice Ian McDonald, who deemed the pair at risk for violence in India's prisons, where the country's human-rights abuses are staggeringly high

Jaswinder Sidhu and Her Husband, Mithu Singh
Photo Credit: CBC

"In my view, there is a valid basis for concern that the applicants will be subjected to violence, torture and/or neglect if surrendered," wrote McDonald about the decision, which was ruled on Friday. 

Justice Minister Peter McKay ordered the extradition last year. It was conditional upon assurance from India that the siblings wouldn't face the death penalty, consular access and an understanding that their health and safety were key under Indian custody.

"I have no doubt that consular monitoring can be effective regarding the death penalty and the corruption/ fair-trial issues.The more worrisome issue is the day-to-day exposure to harm in custody and the risks associated with retaliation against prisoners who complain. … Consular staff may only discover a rape, beating, or neglect of medical care after the fact." wrote McDonald. 

The decision has come under fire on social media and from BC's former Premier Ujjal Dosanjh, who was disappointed by the ruling because it doesn't deliver justice for Jassi's death. 

"What troubles me and leaves me angry is the terrible truth that circumstances and international failings continue to conspire against justice for the brutal taking of Jassi Sidhu’s life," wrote Dosanjh in his editorial.  

Jassi Sidhu
Photo Credit: CTV

The lone dissenter, Justice Richard Goepel, said health concerns were already addressed in last year's ruling, as there were assurances that Punjab prisons had the right facilities in place. 

"He is alleged to have led a conspiracy to attack and kill his niece and her husband because he did not approve of their marriage. In my opinion, the health problems … should not shield him from extradition to face trial, just as they would not shield an accused person from facing prosecution in Canada," Goepel explained.

Last year's extradition trial revealed that Jassi was constantly in fear for her life due to her family's reaction to her secret marriage to Mithu Singh Sidhu. Her co-worker Jody Wright, who worked at the same salon, testified that Sidhu was worried about her family's reaction and set up a code phrase to get Wright to call the police on her behalf if she was locked up at home. 

After fleeing her family for the last time, Jassi flew to India to be with her husband and was prepared to bring him back to Canada. But she never returned. She was attacked with her husband while they rode a scooter in Sangrur, Punjab, in June 2000. Jassi was later kidnapped and killed. 

It remains to be seen whether the accused pair will be tried in Canada, but the recent decision renewed interest in this harrowing case.

Main Image Photo Credit: CBC

Rumnique Nannar

Rumnique Nannar


Rumnique Nannar is a new journalist with a passion for all things pop culture, film, and art. Rumnique was born in London, with a predilection for devouring English chocolate with her Vogue, ANOKHI, and Glamour magazines in tow. She is currently in her Journalism Masters at UBC. Connect ...