2 Canadian Sikhs sentenced for role in murder of man over drug debt. Image Source: IANS News
Toronto, Sep 12 : Two 24-year-old Indo-Canadian Sikhs have been sentenced for their roles in the 2019 targeted killing of a man in British Columbia over a drug debt, a media report said.
Andrew Baldwin, 30, who used and trafficked drugs, was stabbed to death on November 11, 2019, as he watched a movie with a friend in a basement apartment at Whalley in the Surrey city of British Columbia.
While Jagpal Singh Hothi was charged with first-degree murder, his friend and accomplice Jasman Singh Basran, who tried to get rid of evidence, was charged with being an accessory, The Vancouver Sun newspaper reported on Monday.
The B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster sentenced Hothi last week, who pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, to three years in prison, with about 3.5 months’ credit for pretrial time served.
Basran, who pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of obstruction of justice before the court, was sentenced to 18 months to be served as a conditional sentence, meaning under curfew in his own home.
Earlier this year, a third man, Jordan Bottomley, who had also pleaded guilty to manslaughter, had his sentence reduced from eight to three years and 38 days by the judge.
Bottomley was found to have stabbed Baldwin six times, once fatally in the heart, in a bloody attack that was over in less than 90 seconds, The Sun reported.
Munroop Hayer, the fourth person involved in the killing, has been charged with first-degree murder and is yet to face trial. J
ustice Martha M. Devlin wrote in her judgments that Bottomley, Hothi and Baldwin worked for a fourth man in the local drug trade, and were asked by the latter to pick up Bottomley and drive him to collect on a drug debt.
Hothi called his friend, Basran, who had a Ford F150 truck, to do the driving, without telling Basran where they were going.
Devlin wrote that on the night of the murder, Bottomley, wearing layered clothing and gloves and armed with a knife and bear spray, entered the suite and assaulted Baldwin.
Bottomley returned to the truck bloodied and bleeding, and after a short ride, Basran ordered him out of the truck.
Basran and Hothi wiped up the blood, bought cleaning supplies from Walmart and cleaned the truck again before throwing the supplies and the large knife they found Bottomley had left in the back seat over a fence or out the truck window.
The next day, Basran took his car into a detailer to be professionally cleaned, and sent a photograph of it to Hothi.
While sentencing Hothi, judge Devlin noted: “It is because of his awareness of the routine violence of this trade that he became wilfully blind as to what Mr Bottomley intended to do at the scene of the homicide.”
She added that Hothi “actively took steps to conceal or discard evidence”.
The judge also said that Basran’s involvement in the circumstances of the offence was “unplanned”.