Jassi Sidhu with her husband Mithu in an undated photo.

Jassi Sidhu with her husband Mithu in an undated photo.

‘Jassi and her mother loved each other’

Lawyer says not enough evidence to extradite Malkit Sidhu accused of planning her daughter's murder

There is not enough evidence to ship the mother of a Maple Ridge woman murdered in an alleged “honour killing” to face trial in India, her lawyer stressed Wednesday in Vancouver Supreme Court.

Malkit Kaur Sidhu’s daughter Jassi was killed in June 2000 in the Indian state of Punjab after she married rickshaw driver Sukhwinder ‘Mithu’ Sidhu against the wishes of her Canadian family.

Sidhu, 64, and her brother, Surjit Singh Badesha, 68, are fighting extradition to India, where they’ve been charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

During final arguments, however, Sidhu’s lawyer David Crossin told Justice Gregory Fitch the evidence was not sufficient to show she “aided, abetted or counselled Jassi’s murder.”

“There is no evidence that Mrs. Sidhu hired anyone …” said Crossin.

“There is evidence of Mrs. Sidhu expressing frustration and disappointment about Jassi’s marriage. A reasonable jury, properly instructed, would not find Mrs. Sidhu guilty.”

In fact, noted Crossin, the weight of the evidence shows that “Jassi and her mother loved each other.”

The daughter of wealthy blueberry farmers, Jassi Sidhu met her husband Mithu on a family trip to India and carried on a clandestine long-distance romance with him until they were secretly married in 1999.

But when Jassi’s family learned about the marriage, they insisted she divorce Mithu. Indian authorities allege Jassi’s mother also travelled to India in late 1999 or early 2000 and threatened Mithu’s mother and his friends.

During the extradition hearing, friends and co-workers of Jassi testified that she lived in fear of her family, was followed by her uncle and cousin for months and kept under constant watch even while she studied at a beauty school.

Jassi’s family froze her bank accounts after they learned about her marriage.

Jassi told Deb Devos, a teacher at her beauty school, her family wanted her to marry a much older and wealthy man.

Jassi managed to escape the grip of her family and returned to India in May 2000, with the intention of bringing her husband to Canada.

While in India however, the 25-year-old and her husband were attacked by a gang of men. Jassi’s body was found a day later in a ditch, her throat slit. Her husband survived the attack.

Sidhu and Badesha are accused of orchestrating Jassi’s murder and the attempted murder of her husband from the family’s Maple Ridge home.

Sidhu and Badesha appeared via video during four days of final arguments this week. The pair have been in custody since January 2012.

The bulk of the Crown’s case was based on evidence Indian prosecutors are expected to present at trial, but was bolstered by testimony from Jassi’s co-workers and friends.

In 2005, seven men were convicted on murder charges in India, but three had their convictions overturned on appeal.

Jim Longridge was the principal of Pitt Meadows secondary when Jassi graduated and lobbied for years to get police to pursue a murder investigation.

He attended portions of the extradition hearing, which began last May.

“[The mother and uncle’s] involvement is pretty clear to me. Let’s hope the judge feels the same way,” said Longridge.

“You can only be hopeful. Unfortunately, there has been a 14-year delay. My fingers are crossed. I’m looking forward to hearing the ruling. I want to be there, but I won’t be cheering because nothing is going to bring her back.”

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

Just Posted

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: Continuing push to electrify rail service

Amid controversy about a new CP yard in Pitt Meadows, local reader suggests alternative system

Denise Castonguay with Rian, a five-year-old Newfoundland who has retired from breeding. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
Maple Ridge breeders “overwhelmed” as demand for dogs skyrocket

With an average two year wait for purebreds, prices inflated for mixed breeds and designer dogs

There is a COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Ridge Seniors Village. (Google)
COVID-19 outbreak at Maple Ridge long-term care home

Maple Ridge Seniors Village among 536 new cases

RCMP arrested Anthony Randy Kalt in December of 2020. (File photo)
Charges approved against Maple Ridge man after crime spree

Arrest warrant issued for second suspect from Surrey

COVID-19. (Pixabay)
COVID-19 exposure event at Pitt Meadows secondary

Second high school in school district 42 with coronavirus in new year

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
536 COVID cases, 7 deaths reported as B.C. find its first case of South African variant

Henry said 69,746 people have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine.

Alan Davidson was sentenced to almost six years for abusing seven boys in the late 1970s and early 1990s. (Canadian Press file)
Full parole granted to former Mountie, sports coach convicted of sex abuse of boys

Alan Davidson convicted of abusing boys in B.C. and Saskatchewan in late ’70s, early ’90s

Letisha Reimer died Nov. 1, 2016 after being stabbed at Abbotsford Senior Secondary.
No evidence that killer was in ‘psychotic state’ during Abbotsford school stabbing: Crown

Second day of closing arguments at ‘not criminally responsible’ hearing for Gabriel Klein

The first COVID-19 vaccine arrives in B.C. in temperature-controlled containers, Dec. 13, 2020. (B.C. government)
More vaccine arrives as B.C. struggles with remote COVID-19 cases

Long-term care homes remain focus for public health

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in 60 B.C. First Nations by next week

B.C. has allocated 25,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to First Nations for distribution by the end of February

Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone questions the NDP government in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 25, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Todd Stone says he’s not running for B.C. Liberal leadership

Kamloops MLA was widely viewed as a front-runner

Wireless voice and data services are out for those on Telus as of Thursday (Jan. 14) afternoon across Western Canada, Telus Support said in a recent Tweet. (Black Press file photo)
UPDATE: Telus services restored across Western Canada

Telus said they are monitoring the situation to ensure connections remain stable

Screenshot from video.
2 students arrested in assault of transgender girl at Lower Mainland school

Mother says daughter was targeted because of how she identifies

Most Read