Family and friends of a slain Surrey teen faced yet another painful delay on Tuesday morning as the trial of two men accused in connection with her murder has been postponed for a third time.
Gurjinder (Gary) Dhaliwal and Gursimar Bedi are charged in relation to the killing of 19-year-old Maple Batalia in 2011.
Batalia (below) was shot multiple times in the parking lot near SFU’s Surrey campus at about 1 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2011.
She was a health sciences student who also worked as a model.
On Tuesday, the two accused sat in prisoners’ boxes in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster as a packed courtroom, which included Batalia’s parents and family members, looked on.
Moments into the proceedings, Crown counsel asked for a two-day adjournment in order to streamline the trial process.
Prosecutor Wendy Stephens said outside court that both Crown and defence hope to build a larger agreed statement of facts – a move that will cut down on the number of witnesses required.
This would greatly reduce the time for trial, she told reporters.
It’s the third trial delay in the case, the previous two being for the judge to rule on a pretrial motion and to give defence more time to review documents.
Batalia’s father Harry told reporters outside the courthouse the delays have been terrible for the family.
“A long wait,” Batalia said with a trembling voice. “More than four-and-a-half years now.”
Every day the family wonders whether justice will be done, he said.
Dhaliwal, Batalia’s ex-boyfriend, is charged with first-degree murder, while Bedi is charged with manslaughter with a firearm and accessory after the fact.
The two were dressed in suits on Tuesday and when Dhaliwal was led in to the courtroom from custody, he briefly glanced over in Bedi’s direction, however the two did not make eye contact.
Dhaliwal has been in custody since his arrest in 2012, while Bedi has been free on bail since 2013.
The trial is expected to resume on Thursday at 10 a.m.