Gill, Ronald found guilty of first-degree murder in new trial
OTTAWA -- Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald have again been found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Jagtar Gill following a new trial.
Jagtar Gill was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in her Barrhaven home on her wedding anniversary in 2014. Her husband Bhupinderpal Gill and his lover Gurpreet Ronald were convicted of her murder in 2016.
However, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the trial judge made a legal error when instructing the jury and ordered a new trial.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne London-Weinstein delivered the new guilty verdict Tuesday.
Gill and Ronald had both pleaded not guilty to the murder. Ronald testified that she found Jagtar Gill's body and left in a panic, while Bhupinderpal Gill denied that he ever discussed killing his wife with Ronald.
The Crown argued that Gill and Ronald conspired to kill Jagtar and that it was Ronald who carried it out.
In her decision Justice London-Weinstein said she was "satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Gurpreet Ronald killed Jagtar Gill," adding “Mr. Gill is as culpable as Ms. Ronald.”
"The inescapable inference of all the evidence is that Gurpreet Ronald murdered Jagtar Gill," said London-Weinstein. "Mr. Gill is as culpable as Ms. Ronald in the murder of his wife… The two of them planned and deliberated upon the murder together."
London-Weinstein said part of the evidence that supports the verdict is the fact that this crime was committed when Jagtar was at her weakest, home alone recovering from surgery. Ronald brought her own gloves to the home, Bhupinderpal made sure Jagtar was home alone, and he left the door unlocked, she said, to make sure that Ronald could get in.
A victim impact statement, read in court on behalf of Jagtar Gill's parents, said they lost a loving daughter who was herself greatly loved.
"Words cannot express the pain and anguish that we, at this age, and our family and friends have endured since murder of our daughter Jagtar. The defendant’s decision to take the life of a human being with no regard for the effect it may have on others is unimaginable and unpardonable," the statement said. "We as parents and our entire family, are forever “broken” and devoid of our daughter's love, care and compassion and will always remain so.
"Jagtar, your short life enriched the lives of so many people. You will never be forgotten. You are loved forever. Our dear Jagtar, as you know, we could not lay you to rest following your death. Our darling daughter, may you now rest in peace."
A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.
Gill's lawyer said it is too early to say whether they will appeal.
"We're very disappointed. Apparently her honour indicated that her reasons are 256 pages so I'll have to read that over very carefully and then discuss what my client wanted to do going forward," James Harbic said.
In a statement, Ronald's lawyer says she too is disappointed, adding, "We will take the necessary time to carefully review the court's detailed and lengthy decision before determining any potential next steps."