Maple Ridge pair remain in jail until extradition hearing

Two facing conspiracy to commit murder charges in India in connection with the death of daughter, niece Jassi Sidhu

Two Maple Ridge residents facing conspiracy to commit murder charges in India in connection with the 2000 death of their daughter and niece, Jaswinder (Jassi) Kaur Sidhu, will stay in jail until their extradition hearing in the next few months.

B.C. Supreme Court ruled Friday that Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 62, mother of Jaswinder, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 67, Jaswinder’s uncle, both of Maple Ridge, will stay in detention. The pair was arrested in January under the Extradition Act.

Federal prosecutor Deborah Strachan, acting on behalf of the Indian government, said given the nature of the charges, the onus is on the accused to make the case for release.

The Crown maintained that they should stay jail because of the possibility of offending as well as the possibility of undermining the confidence in the administration of justice.

Jassi Sidhu was kidnapped, raped, tortured and killed on June 8, 2000, shortly after she married Sukwinder (Mitoo) Singh Sidhu, a poor rickshaw driver her family did not approve of.

Strachan said a conviction of conspiracy to commit murder could result in the death penalty in India. However, based on previous cases, she said the federal government likely would seek assurance they wouldn’t face that penalty before turning them over to Indian authorities.

The defence lawyers for the two asked for a publication ban at the end of the bail hearing Friday. That ban went into place on a temporary basis until Wednesday, when it was lifted after the Crown contested the ban.

Seven others have already been convicted in India for charges including murder, attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder, in relation to the death of Jaswinder Sidhu and the attempted murder of her husband, Sukwinder Singh Sidhu, say RCMP. Husband Sukwinder was seriously injured in the attack.

An extradition hearing date will be set Wednesday.

“This latest development culminates an exhaustive 11-year international investigation,” RCMP said at the time of the Maple Ridge arrests in January.

The Ridge Meadows detachment did some investigation on behalf of India but in 2004, the RCMP E Division serious crimes unit took over and worked with the Indian Police Service and the Punjab Police Service to pursue extradition of Canadian citizens.