B.C. Court of Appeal hears arguments in extradition case of Malkit Sidhu and Surjit Badesha to India


Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha.
Photo courtesy of CBC

VANCOUVER defence lawyer Michael Klein had told The VOICE last week that the lawyers for B.C. residents Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Surjit Singh Badesha, who face charges in India in connection with the 2000 brutal slaying of Jaswinder (Jassi) Sidhu, 25, in India’s Punjab state, are seeking disclosure about any documentation that will disclose to them why and how their clients were removed from their jails to be presumably sent on their way to India.

Klein said that this was to advance an argument earlier last year that there was an abuse of process and that the extradition surrender should be stayed.

This week, in B.C. Court of Appeal, Klein said that a plan had been put in place to remove Badesha and Sidhu, Jassi’s uncle and mother, respectively, from pretrial custody in B.C. to the tarmac at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on September 20 so that Indian police could whisk them off to India once Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould gave her final judgment. This would have denied Badesha and Sidhu any further legal options, CBC reported.

But government lawyer Deborah Strachan told the court: “The real complaint here is whether that is correct in law — that the minister could take steps to surrender immediately upon a decision being made, and thereby preclude an opportunity for judicial review.”

She added: “”It will be our argument that the minister takes the view that the applicants are not allowed another period of 30 days for judicial review.”

CBC reported that when the judges asked if the government deliberately tried to deprive the two of the right to counsel, Strachan said: “The minister’s position is that the applicants were not afforded the opportunity to contact counsel and that there was no intention to take positive steps to enable them to do that.”

Strachan opposed the application for disclosure.