Montreal cop who handled crime scene ‘outraged’ after charge stayed over delays

Cop 'outraged' after murder charge stayed

MONTREAL — The Montreal police officer who was first on the scene in the slaying of a woman in 2012 says he’s outraged that proceedings against the woman’s husband aren’t going ahead due to the long delay in bringing the case to trial.

On Thursday, a Quebec Superior Court judge ruled that Sivaloganathan Thanabalasingam would not be tried for the death of his wife Anuja Baskaran because too much time had passed since his arrest on the allegation against him.

Thanabalasingam, now 31, was arrested in August 2012 and spent 56 months in jail without a trial, which is almost double the ceiling set out in a Supreme Court ruling referred to as the “Jordan decision.”

His is the first murder charge in Quebec to be placed under a stay of proceedings since the high court decision was delivered last summer. The ruling set a deadline of up to 30 months in superior courts and 18 months for cases at the provincial level.

“I’m outraged,” said Montreal police officer Hugues Olivier. “It doesn’t make sense.”

Olivier was first to arrive on the scene where Baskaran, 21, was found in her Montreal home with her throat slit. Thanabalasingam, her husband, was arrested soon after.

In a phone interview, Olivier told The Canadian Press the police investigation had been properly done and there was “nothing especially complex” about the case that would justify a lengthy delay.

He was asked to testify at the preliminary inquiry in 2014 and remembers it being fairly brief.

“I’ve seen some messes in my life but…if you were to ask me to testify without notes, I’d easily be able to do it,” said the 18-year veteran of the force.

He said he rarely comments publicly on cases but is making an exception because he’s so angry.

“I can still see it,” he said, referring to the crime scene. “And he’s getting off (without a trial).”

Thanabalasingam’s lawyer, Joseph La Leggia, would not discuss the arguments that led to his client’s release.

He pointed out that cases aren’t automatically dismissed after 30 months and each is judged on its own circumstances.

The initial trial date proposed by the court was February 2018, later changed to April 2017, he said.

La Leggia said he understand that some Quebecers are shocked at the ruling.

“I did the work I had to do as a defence lawyer,” he said. “I represented the best interests of my client.”

The Crown prosecutor’s office refused to comment on the reasons why the case wasn’t proceeded with, but indicated it was considering an appeal of the decision.

On Friday, the Quebec Bar Association said it opposed the stay of proceedings.

“The Quebec Bar Association feels the present situation cannot last and judges must be named in order to remedy the delays in our court systems,” said Claudia Premont, the association’s president.

Stephanie Marin, The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Sustainable growth: Time to stop trashing environment

Regenerative capitalist Hunter Lovins offers economic insights at Kelowna conference

Watts focused on rebuilding, reconnecting

BC Liberal Party leadership hopeful Dianne Watts visits Salmon Arm, Vernon

Curtis Sagmoen to appear in Vernon court

The man associated with an Silver Creek farm where human remains were found last month is set to appear in court

New hotel planned for Salmon Arm

Fairfield Inn & Suites Marriott to build, applying for rezoning with city

Kids, the great outdoors and technology

UBCO study says send your kids outside but let them take their electronic devices

One person sent to hospital after fire near Keremeos

Fire ripped through a shed and Winnebego at Sunkatchers RV Park Co-operative

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

BC Transit buses to get safety door for drivers

These new full-length doors will be tested in Victoria, Kelowna and Abbotsford

‘Fresh eyes’ looking into three missing Cowichan Tribes men

First Nations want answers to their disappearances

Pedestrian hit moments after receiving safety reflector from police

The Vancouver Island man was treated for minor injuries by police at the scene

FortisBC LNG site exports first shipment of gas to China

The shipment is part of a pilot project that could see more exports in the future.

BC RCMP hunt for white SUV that rammed cruiser

Kamloops RCMP are looking for a white SUV headed north on the Yellowhead Highway

B.C. to reimburse methadone patients for taking clinic fees off welfare cheques

Provincial government agrees to pay back more than $5.5 million in deducted fees

CSRD provides free hazardous waste drop-off service

New permanent program opens at the Salmon Arm Landfill on Nov. 25

Most Read