HARSIMRAN (Harry) Singh Bal, 22, of Brampton and Daljinder Sidhu, 26, of Toronto were convicted last week of manslaughter in the beating death of Nitish Khanna, 19, outside the Tasty Bite Restaurant in Malton, Ontario, in June 2011.
The jurors believed that the men willingly took part in the attack, but didn’t intend to kill him.
In December, Bal told court that he didn’t participate in the attack on Khanna, stating that he had a fever and shingles on the night of the attack and wasn’t in a condition to do so. But he admitted that the golf clubs used in the attack were taken from the truck of his car. Sidhu also said he didn’t participate in the attack.
But, last November, as the trial got underway, the Crown told the court that four men attacked the murder victim as they hurled insults and egged on each other to hit Khanna, 19, of Toronto hard with golf clubs – a 3-iron and a 1-
wood driver – outside the Tasty Bite Restaurant on Torbram Road in Malton at about 2 a.m. on June 20, 2011. They carried on hitting him even after the heads of the club broke and stabbed Khanna at least four times with the jagged edges of the broken clubs, the jurors were told.
The Crown said that one of the wounds Khanna sustained was at least 17 cm deep. It went through his ribs and entered his chest cavity, puncturing his aorta and both lungs.
The Crown said he would not be able to tell jurors which of the four men used the golf clubs to carry out the attack outside the eatery, but added that DNA and other evidence would reveal that Bal and Sidhu were involved in the murder.
Both men pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
Two other men, Manmeet Kang, 22, and Manjeet Singh, 21, who were also allegedly involved in the attack, fled to India.
(According to news reports in 2011, Khanna worked at the Capital Auto and Truck Rental in Woodbridge. The Tasty Bite Restaurant caters to taxi drivers, the evening shift at Pearson Airport and nearby trucking companies.)
Before the fight, a friend of Bal and Sidhu’s had hurled insults in Punjabi at one of Khanna’s friends in the restaurant washroom. A fight ensued when Khanna and the friend confronted the man and his five friends inside the restaurant, the Crown said.
A restaurant worker intervened and everything appeared normal when Bal and Sindhu’s group left, but Khanna and his two friends did not know that four men from the other group were waiting outside.
Khanna, Bhumin Patel, 22, and another friend agreed with Bal to meet his friends outside the restaurant and walked right into an ambush, the court heard.
Khanna was outnumbered four to one as he was attacked with golf clubs and stomped and stabbed with the broken clubs.
Khanna managed to return to the restaurant before collapsing and paramedics were unable to save him.
Patel told the court that Bal was the man who held Khanna as the others attacked him. When the attack started outside the restaurant, one man was swinging a golf club at Patel, but he managed to get away and phone 9-1-1 as the attackers fled in a car.