Surrey murder victim Maple Batalia’s sister wants to pressure federal politicians to improve the lot of crime victims after the young woman’s killer received temporary compassionate leave from prison last weekend.
“I really hope that now that we have this federal election going on that women’s rights and victims’ rights are put front and centre on the political agenda,” Roseleen Batalia told the Now-Leader. “I really want to hold our politicians accountable to making changes to archaic laws that protect the offenders more than they protect their families and the victim.”
She noted it took five years for her sister’s case to move through the courts.
“There’s certain improvements they have the power to make if they allocate the right resources. Victims’ rights, and crime victim’s rights, need to be put on their agenda.”
Gurjinder Dhaliwal was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole for 21 years in March 2016 after he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2011 death of his ex-girlfriend Maple Batalia, 19.
The court heard Dhaliwal was obsessed with the Simon Fraser University student and couldn’t handle it after she ended their four-year relationship. Batalia was an aspiring actress and model who studied health sciences at SFU before she was murdered in Whalley. She was shot in the back and stabbed while returning to her car, which had been parked on the third-level of the Surrey campus’s parking lot, after a study session.
Dhaliwal was expected to go on trial for first-degree murder but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge.
Last week he requested compassionate leave to visit an ill grandparent but was denied by the warden. On Saturday, he was granted a few hour’s leave, escorted by parole officers, to view his grandparent’s body.
“We’re not happy about it because my grandma passed away two years ago and Maple never got to be a part of that,” Roseleen Batalia said. “We don’t believe such passage should be granted. I understand our Canadian law is based on humanitarian grounds, but where are those humanitarian grounds for victims and their families?”
Batalia noted Dhaliwal is eligible to apply for parole in 2030, when he will be 38 years of age.