A hush fell over a Surrey courtroom Tuesday afternoon as Ravinder Singh Binning approached the microphone.
He began by apologizing to Surrey’s Badh family, two of whom were killed when a speeding Binning slammed into the side rear of their car near 85 Avenue and 128 Street, sending it spinning into a pole. Binning fled the scene where Dilbag and Bakhshish Badh were fatally injured and their two daughters, Rupi and Varinder, were seriously hurt.
“I cannot imagine what they have gone through and continue to go through,” said Binning during his sentencing hearing before Judge Reg Harris in Surrey Provincial Court. “I wish that I could do over my driving that day.”
He also apologized to his own family members, who he said have suffered as a result of his actions.
Binning, 30, said he has been portrayed in the media as a “horrible person” who should get the death penalty.
“But what happened on that night four years ago was something that … could have happened to anyone. It was a complete accident,” he said.
He said he took the blame, and added he “wouldn’t wish death upon my worst enemy” never mind an innocent couple such as the Badhs.
Binning went on to say that his name has been tarnished and he has been vilified in the community, and said he hoped that someday the Badh family would find it in their hearts to forgive him.
The crash took place in July 2008. Binning wasn’t arrested until two years later and even then, the court heard, denied he was driving the car that killed the Badhs. Crown prosecutor Crichton Pike said police matched his DNA with blood found on an airbag.
Pike also detailed a number of cell phone calls Binning made to friends and family shortly after the crash. He never did use his phone to call 911, Pike noted.
Binning’s trial was to begin about two weeks ago, but instead, he pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, one count of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing bodily harm and one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident. The guilty plea came nearly four years after the incident.
After Binning’s apology, Pike said it was clear the young man simply didn’t get it.
The Badh family agreed.
“He did it to himself,” said Varinder. “So if his name is being dragged through the mud, that’s his fault. For him to say that…it’s weak.”
Defence lawyer Ian Donaldson said his client’s “heartfelt” apology showed he’s accepted what he’s done.
While the Crown has asked for a five-year sentence in a federal prison and a lifetime driving ban, Donaldson said a jail time of around three years was more appropriate, with a three-year driving ban.
Judge Harris will deliver his sentence on Thursday (March 15).