Judicial system has ‘victimized’ us again, Batalia family says after verdict

Man found guilty of being an accessory after the fact in the murder of Maple Batalia sentenced to 22 months in jail minus time served

The co-accused in the case of Maple Batalia

The co-accused in the case of Maple Batalia

SURREY — Maple Batalia’s sister says her family is “very unhappy” and feel they’ve been “victimized again by the judicial process” after the co-accused in her murder received a sentence of 18 months.

“We feel this was not justice,” Roseleen told the Now. “The judicial process has once again victimized our family. This sentence negatively impacts the surviving victims of women who’ve lost their lives to violence.”

Gursimar Bedi, who has been described as the “eyes and ears” of the man convicted of Maple’s murder, was given a sentence of 22 months, minus four months he spent in pretrial custody in court in New Westminster, on Friday (Jan. 27).

See also: Batalia family waits five long years for justice

Though initially charged with manslaughter, he was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact.

“The Crown was seeking a six-year sentence, and the defence was seeking a conditional sentence,” Crown counsel Wendy Stephen told the Now after the decision.

Former Surrey councillor Barinder Rasode, who has frequently spoken out about domestic violence, was outraged.

“Clearly an 18-month sentence is an indication that the law does not value women’s lives,” Rasode told the Now. “Five years Maple’s mom fought for justice.  This sentence is a loss.”

Others expressed outrage online through a Facebook memorial page, RIP Maple Batalia, which has more than 8,000 followers.

“If the justice system represents the people then I for one am ashamed,” wrote Vishal Kumar. “I am sorry for the loss of the Batalia family. I (am) sorry the people have failed you. We need a reform. I hang my head in shame and disgust.”

Rich Carter wrote, “When justice is not served, the system becomes a joke. We need massive reforms and an overhaul of our criminal justice system. I hope the family appeals and fights for a stiffer sentence that fits the crime. Thoughts (and) prayers for the family. Rest in Peace, Maple.”

Maple’s killer and ex-boyfriend, Gurjinder Dhaliwal, was convicted of second-degree murder. Last March, he received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 21 years.



Maple’s is not the first high profile case of fatal domestic violence in B.C.’s South Asian community.

Poonam Randhawa was 18 years old when she was killed by her ex-boyfriend Ninderjit Singh in 1999.

He was hunted down in California in August 2011, some 14 years later, and pled guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in 2013. He received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 16 years.

The court heard Singh asked friend Paul Aulakh to drive him to find Randhawa the night of the murder. She had recently broken up with him. Aulakh provided police with details of the final minutes of her life after signing an immunity agreement.

Surrey teacher Mangit Panghali was another fatal case of domestic abuse in the South Asian community in Surrey.

The 31-year-old was last seen alive at a prenatal yoga class in October 2006. It took her husband more than 24 hours to file a missing person’s report.

Five days later her body was found.

Her husband Mukhtiar was arrested and convicted of second-degree murder and interfering with human remains in 2010 and convicted on both counts in 2011.

Raising awareness about intimate partner violence, particularly in the South Asian community, is important to Maple’s sister Roseleen.

“Raising awareness, stopping victim blaming, educating our community and others on this problem has been our No. 1 priority,” she said of her family.

“We don’t get anything out of the community stuff we have done, only the satisfaction that we get from helping to stop another family from going through what we have…. We’ve already lost so many women to domestic violence.”

A report from a B.C. Coroners Service death review panel, titled A Review of Intimate Partner Violence Deaths 2010-2015, notes that an average of 12 people die each year in B.C. as a result of injuries from an intimate partner and that women continue to be murdered at a rate four times greater than male victims.

Azarria Khan of Surrey Women’s Centre noted that in cases that have come through that facility, they’ve found the court system focuses more on rehabilitating offenders than deterrence.

“The courts need to send a message that crimes will not be tolerated in our society,” said Khan, “and should focus a little more on deterrence, but still keep the rehabilitation factor in place.

“The onus is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime did occur. The issue is that the standard of proving beyond a reasonable doubt is very high in the criminal justice system,” Khan added.


With files from Tom Zytaruk and the Vancouver Sun


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

Just Posted

Eternity Medical Equipment’s ECAN95 masks have received Health Canada approval and CSA certification. (Eternity Medical Equipment photo)
South Surrey N-95 equivalent manufacturer launches mask recycling program

Eternity Medical Equipment partners with Ontario-based LifeCycle Revive

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Most Read