A Surrey man has been sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the 2006 drive-by shooting of Mahdi Halane, who was rendered a quadriplegic until his death in hospital six years later at age 24.
Fushpinder Singh Brar, 32, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court on Jan. 9, in New Westminster.
Dan McLaughlin, spokesman for the BC Prosecution Service, said the sentence was based on a joint submission by the Crown and defence.
“On the facts of this case a plea to manslaughter allowed the Crown to lay before the court all relevant circumstances of the offence and allowed for a sentencing range that properly reflected the criminal conduct of the offender, his moral culpability and personal circumstances,” McLaughlin told the Now-Leader. “It was significant, in this case, that the accused pleaded guilty as a party to the offence, not as the principle perpetrator.”
Brar was expected to be sentenced in November but didn’t appear in court then because of a personal medical crisis. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter using a firearm for the Oct. 14, 2006 drive-by shooting in Whalley.
His lawyer, Phil Rankin, told Justice John Harvey in November that he was told by his client’s family about an hour before the 2 p.m. sentencing was to take place that Brar had been taken to hospital for a “suspected heart attack or heart trouble.”
Halane, an 18-year-old Queen Elizabeth Secondary grad, was out celebrating a friend’s birthday when he and his pals came across another group of friends who’d been in a fight at the Chevron gas station at 96th Avenue and 128th Street in Cedar Hills.
Police said the fight started after a man from another group spat and some of his spittle hit the pant leg of one of Halane’s friends.
Halane was down the street, in a different car, and had nothing to do with the gas station incident. He apparently looked up from his front passenger seat, as bullets flew from a passing car, and was hit in the neck, severing his spinal cord and rendering him quadriplegic until he died of kidney failure on March 25, 2012, at the age of 24.
“For six years he was paralyzed, and he died,” his father, Osman Halane said in 2014, contemplating the horror of his son’s fate. “A lot of disaster we passed, and nightmare.”
Nine years after the shooting, the Surrey RCMP arrested Brar.
Sergeant Mike Hall was in charge of Surrey RCMP’s Unsolved Homicides Unit at the time. He had been on the case since the night of the shooting and said police believe Halane was an innocent victim.
The victim’s sister, Juweria Halane, said that before the shooting her brother was a tall, athletic young man who loved basketball. Filled with life, he was a practical joker who easily made friends.
Halane’s mother Safia and dad Osman brought their five children to Canada in 1997, from war-torn Somalia, hoping for a prosperous future for them here.