B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey criminal’s dangerous offender designation set aside by appeal court

Jatin Patel’s indeterminate sentence was also set aside by the Court of Appeal. A new hearing has been ordered

Jatin Patel has had her dangerous offender designation and indeterminate sentence set aside by the Court of Appeal for British Columbia on a split decision after challenging it in court.

“I will refer to her as female but at the time of the offences, she identified as male,” Justice Anne MacKenzie stated in her March 18 reasons for decision.

A new dangerous offender hearing has been ordered.

A jury on April 1, 2016 found Patel guilty of two counts of sexual interference of a person under age 16 and two counts of sexual assaulting a 13-year-old girl in a Surrey motel room after supplying the child with crystal methamphetamine. The counts of sexual interference were conditionally stayed.

Patel was also found guilty of sexual assault and sexual interference for grabbing or pinching a 13-year-old girl’s bottom while the child was shopping with her mother and brother at a Safeway grocery store in Surrey, and was convicted of manslaughter for the May 2003 slaying of a transgender prostitute in North Vancouver.

The killing happened one day after Patel arrived in Canada following deportation from the United States.

“They went to a motel in North Vancouver where the appellant said she discovered the worker was transgender,” MacKenzie noted. “Upset with this discovery, the appellant killed the worker by striking her throat. She placed the body in a closet and left it there for days.”

The judge noted Patel eventually moved the body to a shopping cart near the motel. Patel, whose life to this point had mostly been spent in jail, received a nine-year prison sentence minus time served.

On March 7, 2018 a judge declared Patel to be a dangerous offender and ordered an indeterminate sentence.

MacKenzie noted that judge found the aggravating circumstances to be “legion.”

“He found it difficult to find a mitigating circumstance.”

READ ALSO: Surrey dangerous offender twice deported to Canada from U.S.

READ ALSO: Man convicted of pinching girl’s bottom in Surrey Safeway loses second appeal

MacKenzie concluded that the judge “was justified in declaring the appellant a dangerous offender and imposing an indeterminate sentence in a penitentiary.

“In my view,” MacKenzie said, it was open to the judge “to conclude, based on the evidence, that no measure other than an indeterminate sentence would adequately protect the public.”

MacKenzie said, “In the result, I would dismiss the appeal.”

But two other appeal court judges, Justice Bruce Butler and Justice Gregory Fitch, decided to allow the appeal, set aside the dangerous offender designation and indeterminate sentence, and ordered a new dangerous offender hearing.

Fitch provided the written reasons why.

“In my view,” Fitch wrote, “the sentencing judge’s apparent reliance on the appellant’s previous conviction for manslaughter and other non-sexual offences in conducting a prospective assessment of the risk that she would likely continue to fail to control her sexual impulses in the future fatally taints his conclusion that she met the criteria for a dangerous offender designation” as set out in Section 753(1)(b) of the Criminal Code.



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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