Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald win appeal: will face new trial for murder of Jagtar Gill
OTTAWA -- The Ontario Court of Appeal has ordered a new trial for Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald, who were both convicted of first degree murder in the death of Gill’s wife Jagtar, in July of 2016.
The appeal court found that the trial judge “tainted’ the verdict by making a legal error, in not allowing the jury to consider a conviction of second degree murder for Mr. Gill.
The court found the trial judge essentially hindered Gill's full defence, which was that Gurpreet Ronald acted alone in planning the murder of Jagtar Gill. Because a possible second degree murder conviction was removed as a possibility for Mr. Gill, the court found that both Gill and Ronald should be retried for first degree murder.
“I am confident with a fair jury trial that Mr. Gill will be acquitted,” said James Harbic, Gill’s lawyer. “I am thankful the Court of Appeal saw that Mr. Gill wasn't given a fair jury charge and that full defence wasn't put to them by the trial judge and taking away second degree from co-accused undermined the Defence’s theory as to how this happened.”
The trial court heard that Gill and Ronald worked together as OC Transpo bus drivers, and were lovers for several years.
They both appealed their convictions, saying the trial judge made significant errors during the trial.
Wednesday’s court of appeal ruling sets aside the murder convictions, and orders a new trial.
“I am satisfied that both appellants have established errors in law that directly affected the verdicts returned against them”, wrote Justice David Doherty. “I would allow the appeals, quash the convictions, and order a new trial in the charge of first degree murder.”
This decision isn't sitting well with the family of the victim, Jagtar Gill.
They attended every day of the trial, even drove to Toronto to attend the appeal.
And now they feel they'll have to relive the details of the murder all over again.
“The family and community had believed the decision of trial judge brought closure to the judicial process,” said Daljit Nirman, an Ottawa lawyer and friend of Jagtar Gill’s family, “This closure had lessened the immense pain and suffering that Jagtar's family had been through for so many years. Unfortunately now they have to go through this entire process once again. This will be very difficult for the entire family, especially Jagtar's father,” Nirman continued, “who is currently undergoing cancer treatment. He fears he will never see closure of this matter or see his deceased daughter getting justice.”
Both Gill and Ronald remain in custody.