BY RATTAN MALL
LAST month, I did an exclusive report titled: “Crown Consents to Application by Gurdev Dhillon’s Lawyer to Quash His Conviction for Sexual Assault in Supreme Court of Canada.”
Now Canada’s top court is sending the case back to B.C. Appeal Court to consider fresh evidence and decide if there was a miscarriage of justice.
Last February, special prosecutor Peter Wilson concluded that there was “a miscarriage of justice” in the case.
Dhillon was convicted of sexual assault in October 2005 for an offence that was said to have occurred on July 7, 2004.
Wilson approved a charge of sexual assault against Mohammed Zaaid Ukhttar and Sital Singh Bhatti in the case.
Dhillon’s lawyer Paul Briggs told the media at the time that the DNA of two different people was found on the victim’s underwear and neither sample matched Dhillon’s DNA, according to what the special prosecutor told him.
Dhillon, who had a good job in Canada, was deported after serving two thirds of his four-year sentence. His wife left him and finally divorced him.
Briggs told me at the time that Dhillon had got in touch with him and he was “trying to move forward to help him.”
Last month, Briggs told me that he had “filed an application to quash (Dhillon’s) conviction in the Supreme Court of Canada and to refer the matter back to our Court of Appeal for reconsideration of the new evidence.”
And he added: “I just received the Crown’s reply this week – they are consenting to that application, so I expect the Court will grant it.”
Briggs said: “What that means is I expect them to rule on that application sometime in the fall and I expect them to grant it and refer it back to the Court of Appeal. And when that happens, I told Mr. Dhillon that on the basis of his conviction being set aside, his case is not over but it would form the basis for a request to immigration Canada that he be allowed to come back to Canada while his case is being heard.”
Briggs said that he would have to go back to the Court of Appeal once the case is referred back to them to actually argue the appeal. He expects the appeal to be granted in terms of having Dhillon’s conviction set aside.
He added: “We’ll probably argue about whether there should be another trial or not.”
He said that the complicating factor in the case is that there’s two other individuals now who are charged in relation to the incident that he was convicted of and they are still before the court.
Briggs added: “So the issue is going to be whether or not the Crown is going to actually try to retry him if the Court of Appeal grants the application to retry him or whether they’ll just stay the proceeding – or he’ll be acquitted at the Court of Appeal.”