B.C. Supreme Court rules that witnesses’ hearsay statements are admissible in extradition hearing in Jassi Sidhu murder case

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Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu and Jaswinder Kaur (Jassi) Sidhu

 

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Gregory Fitch has ruled that hearsay statements made by seven Canadian-based witnesses should be allowed in the extradition hearing for Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha of Maple Ridge, who are wanted in India in the brutal 2000 murder of Sidhu’s daughter, Jaswinder (Jassi) Kaur Sidhu, 25, in Punjab. Her family was against her marriage to a poor auto-rickshaw driver, Sukwinder (Mithu) Singh Sidhu, in Punjab.
 
On January 5, 2012, the B.C. Supreme Court issued arrest warrants under the Extradition Act against Malkit Sidhu and Jassi’s uncle Badesha, who come from a prominent blueberry farming family. Indian police allege that contract killers got the order to kill Jassi from Canada shortly after the girl had spoken to her mother on a cellphone following her abduction.
 
The judge noted: “Pursuant to s. 32 (2) of the Extradition Act, S.C. 1999, c.18, “[e]vidence gathered in Canada must satisfy the rules of evidence under Canadian law in order to be admitted” on an extradition hearing.  Hearsay evidence is presumptively inadmissible under Canadian law.  A party seeking to adduce Canadian-gathered evidence on an extradition hearing, the content of which would constitute inadmissible hearsay under Canadian law, must establish that the evidence falls under a traditional exception to the hearsay rule or, if it does not, that it is admissible under the principled approach to the admission of hearsay evidence because the twin requirements of necessity and threshold reliability have been met.”

 


 
Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha. Photos courtesy of CBC)

 

But the judge said he would not admit Jassi’s statement to Belinda Lucas, an esthetician who worked with Jassi at Heads Up from the beginning of 2000 until Jassi left for India in the spring of that year, that she was restrained by the back of her neck by one of her uncles in the presence of the notary when she signed this document.
 
He added: “The inherent improbability that the event played out in this fashion is such that I am not satisfied Canada has discharged its onus of establishing this particular statement is sufficiently reliable to warrant admission under the principled approach.”
 
The statements allowed were made by Lucas, Nicole Hall, who worked as a receptionist at Heads Up in 1999 and 2000 when Jassi was employed there as an esthetician,  Jody Wright, who worked full time as a receptionist at Heads Up for a year and a half in 1999 and 2000, Tamara Lamirande, who worked full time as a nail technician at Heads Up for about two years, including in 2000,  Deborah Devos, who owns and operates the Maple Ridge School of Esthetics, Patricia Scott, who rented a basement suite in the residence occupied by Jassi’s extended family, including in 1999 and 2000, and Cpl. Andy Cook, who was stationed at the Maple Ridge detachment of the RCMP and  was called to the front counter of the detachment to speak with Jaswinder (“Jassi”) Sidhu on April 6, 2000.

 

Full judgment: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/13/18/2013BCSC1872.htm