Maple Batalia murder trial delayed again

Harry Batalia says the delays have been "terrible" for his family. They've been waiting nearly four and a half years for the trial to start.

Harry Batalia

NEW WESTMINSTER —  The opening day of a trial for two men accused of killing Surrey university student Maple Batalia, 19, in 2011 was adjourned for the second time in a week today (Tuesday).

A weary looking Harry Batalia told the Now outside court that the delays have been “terrible” for his family, who have been waiting nearly four and a half years for this trial to start.

“It’s too much hard for us; a long wait,” he said.

His daughter was an aspiring actress and model who studied health sciences at Surrey’s Simon Fraser University campus before she was murdered in Whalley a little more than five years ago.

Maple Batalia was shot in the back seven times while returning to her car, which had been parked on the third-level of the campus’s parking lot.  Paramedics had struggled to save her but she died in hospital.

The trial for her alleged killers is set to begin at 10 a.m. Thursday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster with Justice Terry Schultes presiding. The trial was set to begin Feb. 23rd but Schultes agreed to adjourn the trial for one week, at defence lawyer Simon Buck’s request, so he could first review a ruling the judge was expected to deliver on Monday morning.

A packed courtroom waiting for the trial to start today (Tuesday) learned it would again be postponed so lawyers could streamline the witness list. Schultes granted the joint request, saying this would pay off with a more efficient outcome in the end.

Gurjinder Dhaliwal and Gursimar Bedi, both in their 20s, are the accused. Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder and Bedi is charged with manslaughter using a firearm and accessory after the fact.

Both were arrested following a 14-month police investigation. They sat dressed in suit jackets in separate boxes, behind glass, and did not look at each other Tuesday morning.

Buck is Dhaliwal’s lawyer and Bedi’s counsel is Hovan Patey and Justin Myers.

“We anticipate a very large volume of admissions,” Patey told the court.

The Crown prosecutors are Wendy Stephen and Brad Kielmann. tom.zytaruk@thenownewspaper.com

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