Former president of Surrey Sikh temple dismisses lawyer at sentencing for wife’s death

Baldev Singh Kalsi ordered to return to court Tuesday

A former Surrey temple leader who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the July 2014 death of his wife dismissed his lawyer Thursday afternoon at what was to be his sentencing.

Baldev Singh Kalsi had been scheduled to learn his fate in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster, however, before the sentence could be imposed, the court heard he wants to consult new counsel.

“I’m here as a courtesy to the court to advise simply that Mr. Kalsi and I have encountered serious difficulties with the conduct of his case, with the result that I have been dismissed,” defence Peter Wilson told Justice Trevor Armstrong, noting Kalsi wanted get advice from another lawyer prior to being sentenced.

Crown Wendy Stephen argued that the adjournment should not be allowed.

“I simply can’t imagine what it is that Mr. Kalsi could or would consult with another counsel about,” Stephen said.

“He was looking at going to jail today for a very long time. The timing suggests that it is simply a delay tactic.”

Kalsi – former president of the Gurdwara Sahib Brookside temple – was arrested in July 2014, after police found his wife, Narinder, in severe medical distress at a home in the 19400-block of 32 Avenue in South Surrey.

At that time, the incident was described as “domestic-related.”

Kalsi was charged with second-degree murder after Narinder died – she was taken off life support less than a week after the incident – and had been ordered to stand trial following a preliminary inquiry in Surrey Provincial Court two years later.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter last November, on what had been scheduled to be the first day of trial.

Thursday, Stephen noted the length of time that has passed since Narinder Kalsi’s death and told the court that “every delay” in the proceedings against Baldev Kalsi to this point – including an earlier change of counsel – “has been at the feet of Mr. Kalsi.”

She said Wilson conducted Kalsi’s defence in a “thorough and incredibly competent fashion,” noted that Kalsi had signed an agreed statement of facts regarding what led to his wife’s death and emphasized that she and Wilson had agreed an appropriate sentence would be 11 years in jail.

The only argument was regarding how much credit Kalsi should receive for time served, she said.

She encouraged the court to ask Kalsi why he was now taking this step.

Armstrong did just that, and Kalsi responded that it was to do with submitting letters of support. He had heard from another lawyer “around 5:30” Wednesday evening, he said.

Outside court, Kalsi said only that “the lawyer, he didn’t explain (it to) me properly.”

Kalsi had asked the court to adjourn the case until after March 21, noting he had an appointment with another lawyer on that date. Stephen noted to the court that the lawyer in question was Kalsi’s original defence lawyer.

Armstrong, noting Crown is “vigorously opposed” to an adjournment, gave Kalsi until Tuesday (March 13) afternoon.

“Endeavour to have someone from (defence counsel’s) office here at 1:30,” Armstrong said.

 

Narinder Kalsi died in July 2014. (File photo)

Baldev Singh Kalsi was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Thursday. (File photo)

Just Posted

Clayton townhouse projects sent back to staff over school capacity concerns

‘We’re really stressing out the school systems here’ says Surrey Councillor Steven Pettigrew

OUR VIEW: Elford’s support of budget surprising, considering his history in Surrey

The Doug Elford we knew as an advocate would have opposed budget that doesn’t hire more officers

Superheroes help police deliver toys to hospital in memory of Keian Blundell

Holiday Wish Toy Drive ‘a resounding success’ this year

Surrey adds more parkland to its inventory

City aquired Campbell Heights property

Does Surrey need more mounties? B.C.’s top cop thinks so

‘We definitely have the metrics, the evidence and rationale behind that,’ she said

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Road to the World Juniors leads through B.C.

Finland plays Denmark on Wednesday, United States takes on Czech Republic on Saturday

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

‘A stronger Alberta:’ Ottawa announces $1.6B for Canada’s oil and gas sector

Price of Alberta oil plummeted so low that Alberta’s Premier said Canada was practically giving it away

Wicked weather, including heavy snow, rainfall, hammers southern B.C.

Environment Canada has posted winter storm warnings for the Coquihalla Highway, Highway 3

Most Read