A Surrey man has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter related to the 2019 stabbing of Andrew Baldwin in Whalley.
Justice Martha Devlin in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster sentenced Jagpal Singh Hothi, 24, to 1,095 days in prison but after factoring in credit for time served, his sentence is actually 990 days, or two years, eight months and 17 days.
“I have determined that you are entitled to credit for 70 days in custody. A rate of 1.5:1 yields a total credit of 105 days,” Devlin told Hothi on Sept. 7.
Baldwin was stabbed in the heart on Nov. 11, 2019 by Jordan Bottomley, Hothi’s associate in the drug trade.
Hothi was originally charged with the first-degree murder along with Bottomley, 29.
On March 25, the Crown agreed to a plea to the lesser included offence of manslaughter and argued for a sentence of six years in Hothi’s case while the defence sought two years less a day of house arrest.
Bottomley, who did the actual stabbing, was sentenced by Devlin in July to eight years. But after credit for time served, Bottomley’s sentence works out to 1,133 days, or three years and 38 days. In his case, the Crown had argued for a 12-year sentence of 12 years in prison while the defence argued for six to seven years. The typical range for a manslaughter sentence is four to 15 years in prison.
The court heard Hothi attended Khalsa Sikh private school in Surrey until Grade 9, then transferred to L.A. Matheson Secondary School, from which he was expelled the following school year and then attended the North Surrey Learning Centre.
Devlin noted that a pre-sentence report indicates Hothi advised he was “drawn to the drug trade by the allure of the lifestyle that his friends in that trade were enjoying. He resented his parents for not being able to provide the same luxuries that his peers had. He glamorized the lifestyle of persons involved in the drug trade despite knowing the risks posed by associating with them.”
While sentencing Hothi, the judge 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 he “actively took steps to conceal or discard evidence of that confrontation.” The judge did accept, however, that Hothi did not know Baldwin would be killed.
”In terms of the mitigating factors,” Devlin stated in her reasons for sentence, “I have considered Mr. Hothi’s guilty plea, which indicates his acceptance of responsibility for his actions. Mr. Hothi’s guilty plea is a genuine demonstration of remorse and a positive step towards rehabilitation.”
“Balancing all of the relevant factors, I am of the view that a sentence of imprisonment is proportionate, fit, and proper in the circumstances. The sentence I will impose, among other things, serves to denounce Mr. Hothi’s conduct and deter him and other like-minded individuals from engaging in this type of behaviour.”
Meantime, also on Sept. 7 Devlin sentenced Jasman Singh Basran, 24, of Surrey to 18 months of house arrest after he pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing justice related to the Baldwin case.
The Crown proposed a jail term of 18 months while the defence argued for 15 months of house arrest.
“In my view, he poses little risk of re-offending,” Devlin stated in her reasons for sentence. “The aggravating fact in this case is that Mr. Basran’s actions resulted in destruction of evidence related to a very serious crime. It should have been obvious to Mr. Basran that the blood in his truck was evidence of some sort of altercation.”
“Mr. Basran’s involvement in the circumstances of the offence was unplanned,” she found.
“I accept that the seemingly benign act of giving a ride to his friend, Mr. Hothi, suddenly turned into involvement in an extremely serious matter.”