File photo by Tom Zytaruk

File photo by Tom Zytaruk

Convicted robber wants guilty pleas overturned after learning he’ll be deported

Sukhvinder Singh Khungay says his guilty pleas were ‘uninformed and therefore invalid,’ court hears

A convicted robber who pleaded guilty to five counts of robbery in Surrey provincial court wants those pleas set aside since learning he’s facing deportation as a result.

Sukhvinder Singh Khungay entered his guilty pleas in 2009. Justice Joyce DeWitt-Van Oosten, of the Court of Appeal for B.C., on Oct. 6 granted him an extension of time to appeal.

The court heard Khungay, 53, has permanent resident status but is not a Canadian citizen and the Immigration Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has ordered him deported. He told the judge that when he pleaded guilty to the robberies he was not aware the convictions and resulting sentences could get him removed from Canada.

“He seeks to have the convictions set aside on the ground that his guilty pleas were uninformed and therefore invalid,” DeWitt-Van Oosten noted in her reasons for judgment. “I am satisfied that the interests of justice are best served by granting an extension.”

The court heard Khungay immigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom with his parents in 1979 and fathered two Canadian-born children, now adults.

He became addicted to cocaine after injuring his back at work and after his marriage ended in 2000, the judge noted, he “succumbed to criminality.” He was sentenced in July 2009 to two years concurrent for each of the robberies in 2009 and a consecutive one-year in jail for an imitation firearms offence, making for five years altogether.

“Three of the five robberies involved stealing money from business employees or owners using an imitation handgun. During one of those robberies, the applicant threatened to kill the victim if he did not produce cash,” the judge noted. “A fourth robbery involved stealing a vehicle by threatening the driver with the imitation handgun, pushing him out of the driver’s door, and then fleeing with the vehicle. A fifth robbery involved approaching a 74‑year‑old man who was walking down his driveway, threatening to shoot him and demanding cash. The applicant revealed the barrel of the imitation handgun to that victim. He was unsuccessful in obtaining money.”

This all happened in the span of a month, to pay off a drug debt and to get more drugs.

READ ALSO: Couple faces 69 charges related to CBSA Surrey immigration fraud investigation

READ ALSO: Crown seeks 3 years for former Cloverdale youth pastor convicted of sexual assault

In December 2009, Khungay got a letter from the Canada Border Services Agency telling him the convictions and sentences made him “inadmissible” to Canada on grounds of “serious criminality.”

Khungay said he was “shocked,” and “filled with dread” at the prospect of being separated from his family.

Subsequent to the robberies, the judge noted, he committed other crimes including common assault of an intimate partner, assault with a weapon against an intimate partner, criminal harassment and breach of a probation order, and three counts of trafficking in cocaine.

A deportation order was issued on Feb. 21, 2020. He then launched an appeal of his 2009 convictions on March 13.

The Crown opposed an extension of time. But the judge granted it.

“In light of the evidence before me, the applicant has a strong argument that his 2009 guilty pleas were uninformed,” DeWitt-Van Oosten decided.

“I find this case close to the line,” she said. “Particularly in light of the delay in filing an appeal and the prejudice to the Crown arising from the passage of time. However, in light of the Court’s jurisprudence on extensions, the particular circumstances of the case, and the critical importance of ensuring that guilty pleas are informed, I am not prepared to deny the applicant an opportunity to have his convictions reviewed. As noted, whether the appeal succeeds on its merits is for a division to decide, based on its own assessment of the record.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Tom on Twitter

CourtImmigrationSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: Surrey’s public hearings are for being heard

Surrey public hearings of late have been devolving into something less than intended

Surrey native Dylan Kinley, shown here with the Douglas College Royals, has signed with the UFV Cascades. (Douglas Royals photo)
UFV Cascades sign Surrey native Dylan Kinley

Tweedsmuir grad, Douglas Royals star joins Abbotsford-based team for 2021-22

Surrey-raised actor Michael Coleman in some of the roles he’s played since the mid-1990s. (submitted photo)
Chat with Robin Williams helped send Surrey’s Coleman into world of acting

‘For me, it was a game-changer,’ says co-founder of Story Institute acting school

Record-setting high jumper Emma de Boer, who lives in Cloverdale and attends Holy Cross Regional High School in Fleetwood, will train and study architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) next fall. (submitted photo)
Surrey jumper on a high after recruitment by UPenn track team

High jumper Emma de Boer aims to leave Cloverdale for Philadelphia next fall

Friends and family of Paul Prestbakmo (from left: Barbara Calder, Leah Charles, Jimmy Slater, Angela Prestbakmo and Liz Prestbakmo) gather outside Surrey Provincial Court on Tuesday (Jan. 26, 2021). (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey murder victim stabbed 42 times: pathologist

RCMP digital-evidence specialist also among witnesses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

SAR crews worked late into the night Tuesday to rescue an injured snowboarder in North Vancouver. (Facebook/North Shore Rescue)
Complicated, dangerous rescue saves man in avalanche near Cypress Mountain

North Shore SAR team braves considerable conditions to reach injured snowboarder

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
UPDATE: No sign of small plane that went down in waters south of Vancouver Island

Searchers out on both sides of border between Victoria and Port Angeles

In this undated image made from a video taken by the Duke of Sussex and posted on @SaveChildrenUK by the Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, shows the Duchess of Sussex reading the book “Duck! Rabbit!” to their son Archie who celebrates his first birthday on Wednesday May 6, 2020. The Canadian Paediatric Society is reminding families that the process of raising a reader starts from birth. (Duke of Sussex/@SaveChildrenUK)
Canadian Paediatric Society says raising a reader starts from birth

CPS says literacy is one of the strongest predictors of lifelong health outcomes

Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Minister Carla Qualtrough responds to a question during a news conference Thursday August 20, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Easing rules for parental benefits created inequities among parents, documents say

Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office says the government will make any necessary changes

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

Most Read