Canada Immigration news
METRO VANCOUVER -- The former lawyer of a man deported to India after apparently suffering a miscarriage of justice in a sexual assault case is scrambling to get in touch with his one-time client.
Gurdev Singh Dhillon, then of Surrey, was convicted of sexual assault in connection with the 2004 gang rape of a 19-year-old woman and deported in 2008 after serving at least two years in Canadian prison.
“I’m just hoping his aunt or uncle or somebody calls me back and gets the information to him,” said Dhillon’s former lawyer Paul E. Briggs. “He actually had a good job here, he got married and was sponsored to come to Canada … in 2002.”
Dhillon’s appeal of his conviction was dismissed in 2006, but the Crown said this week that officials became aware in 2011 that certain evidence was not disclosed to the Crown, and therefore not disclosed to the defendant.
After charges were laid against Dhillon, his wife separated from him and eventually divorced him, Briggs said. Dhillon, a permanent resident at the time, was deported after serving two thirds of his four-year sentence.
Neil MacKenzie, spokesman for the criminal justice branch, said Wednesday the miscarriage of justice came to light when the Crown found out about material evidence implicating two other men allegedly involved in the “violent and serious” assault that left the woman pregnant.
Briggs said the special prosecutor investigating the case told him the DNA of two different people was found on the victim’s underwear. Neither sample matched Dhillon’s DNA.
“That’s why it’s important for the case to be reopened and, if necessary, have another trial,” Briggs said.
Dhillon’s affidavit filed in the Court of Appeal stated he didn’t remember anything, “was drunk and possibly drugged,” Briggs said.
“The Court of Appeal found that he was found in his suite some five hours after the alleged assault took place and very intoxicated and naked.”
RCMP said it was their own review of the case that raised a red flag and determined that the initial investigation “did not sufficiently consider additional avenues, regarding other potential suspects.”
In September 2011, RCMP asked Delta Police to conduct an independent external review of the case. The Crown appointed a special prosecutor to review the case. Earlier this month, the prosecutor approved sexual assault charges against two men — Mohammed Zaaid Ukhttar and Sital Singh Bhatti.
“Even if the criminal problem can be resolved in his favour, he still has to convince the immigration board to overturn his deportation order,” Briggs said of his client. “If he still chooses to come back to Canada.”