Supreme Court rules on Maple Ridge pair’s trial in India

Decision made after case involving the murder of former Pitt Meadows secondary student

Two people facing murder conspiracy charges in India over the death of former Pitt Meadows secondary student Jassi Sidhu will go to India to stand trial.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 66, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 71, were facing extradition after being charged in India with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of former Pitt Meadows secondary student Jaswinder Kaur Sidhu, also known as Jassi. Malkit is Jassi’s mom and Surjit Singh Badesha is her uncle.

Jassi was 25 years old when she was found dead, her throat cut beside a canal in the Punjab, India in June 2000.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha successfully appealed a 2014 B.C. Supreme Court decision in favour of extradition.

According to a Supreme Court summary, Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are alleged to have contracted the killing of Jassi for marrying a man considered unsuitable.

Jassi in 1994, met rickshaw driver Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Sidhu. He was also injured in the June 2000 attack after being beaten and having his ring finger cut off.

The daughter of wealthy blueberry farmers, Jassi met Mithu on a family trip to India and carried on a clandestine long-distance romance with him until they were secretly married in 1999.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha are accused by India of conspiracy to commit murder from the family home in Maple Ridge.

An earlier extradition decision was successfully appealed, but that decision was itself challenged when the Attorney General of Canada, acting on behalf of the Republic of India, argued for extradition in the Supreme Court of Canada.

Three people in India are also currently serving life sentences for the murder.

The Supreme Court judgment issued Friday said that the government made a reasonable conclusion that there was “no substantial risk of torture or mistreatment” in the Indian judicial system.

Jim Longridge, was Jassi’s principal when she attended Pitt Meadows secondary in the 1990s. “I didn’t expect to hear this news,” he said Friday.

Jassi was murdered just before he retired in June 2000.

He had expected the extradition hearing would be the only opportunity to hear the case in court.

Longridge has followed the case since 2000 and has three thick binders documenting every news article and every word in every court decsion. Shortly after Jassi’s murder he was told by local RCMP that there was nothing they could do because Jassi was murdered in another country. But a lawyer told him it was possible to do something. “So that got me going.”

He remembers Jassi as a good student, but she wasn’t someone who stuck out. “She kept to herself. She was a good student, not a great student, she was a good student and she had a lot of friends.

“I kind of expected us to lose, but I’m pleased we didn’t. But we need to now follow up and make sure that they’re health is looked after but that they are tried fairly and dealt with fairly.”

 

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