FAMILY and friends of Amandeep Bath finally received justice on Friday (April 13) – more than 12 years after he was murdered on September 23, 2004, in Surrey.
Parminder Singh Basran, who pleaded guilty on March 3 to manslaughter with a firearm in connection with Bath’s slaying, was sentenced to six years in prison. He has been given a weapons ban for life and must submit his DNA.
Bhabjit Singh Aujla, who pleaded guilty to assault, was sentenced to time served, which equated to 11 months in custody.
Staff – Sgt. Jennifer Pound said: “IHIT’s cold case team consists of highly skilled investigators who have provided justice to families who have tragically lost loved ones. Mr. Bath’s homicide was the first investigation that IHIT’s cold case team assumed conduct of in 2012. As a result of the dedication and compassion that each IHIT investigator displayed throughout the years, today, nearly 13 years after the death of Mr. Bath, we are seeing accountability and justice served.”
Bath’s cousin, Harpreet Khela, said in his victim impact statement in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster: “The effect his killing has had on his single mother has been nothing short of cruel. Her only child stripped away from her at his prime. She never got to see him finish his accounting degree, never got to see him fall in love, never got to see him have children of his own. The two involved in Amandeep’s death have left her with a hole that can never be filled and a sadness that has crippled her.”
He added: “The toll that this loss took on our grandmother was unbearable to watch as her health quickly deteriorated at the loss of her favorite grandchild, until we lost her shortly after.
“My home has never been the same after losing Amandeep. My parents, who helped raise Amandeep as a child, lost a part of themselves that day. Not a day has gone by where we do not think of him and miss him.
“Till this day, no remorse has ever been shown by those involved, no apology ever offered, not even an ounce of humanity shown for their heinous act; often acting untouchable and beyond reproach as if what they did was minor.”
He urged the judge “to ensure the fullest extent of the law” was applied to the guilty.
He thanked the judge, the RCMP, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) Crown Council and all those who worked tirelessly to get justice for Amandeep.
Bath’s aunt, Kamaljit Khela, in her statement said: “There are not enough words to express the devastation of September 24, 2004. The tears, screams, shock, disbelief, sickening and heart wrench of that day and every day since. Our world fell apart and never has been put back together.”
She added: “Amandeep was the 27-year-old apple of his mother’s eye. He towered a superb 6’7”; he was a kind-hearted, smart and honest young man. He shied away from conflict, fights and violence, let alone be embroiled with blazing gangs and guns.”
She said: “There are no words to express the searing pain which cut through us when we saw his young body lying there with its life having been sucked out of it. He lay peacefully as our world was cast into extreme confusion, unrest and misery. I often relive the flashbacks, thinking of the terror of Amandeep’s last minutes on earth. I feel his pain as i haer his 911 call echoing in my ears.”
She told the judge: “we do not seek retribution but fair justice in line with the pain caused in robbing of the centrepiece of our lives.”
BATH was out with friends on the night of September 23, 2004. When returning home, he was confronted in his vehicle by an acquaintance. This confrontation prompted Amandeep to take off in his vehicle and call 911. The two suspects then followed behind him in their vehicle. Both vehicles came to a rest in the 9100 block of 125 Street in Surrey, according to police.
At this location the confrontation ensued between the two suspects and Amandeep. This confrontation ended when Amandeep was shot and killed at this location. As Amandeep had placed a 911 call, the Surrey RCMP were on scene quickly which resulted in locating and arresting one of the suspects. The second suspect was identified and arrested a few days following the homicide. Both individuals were charged with homicide-related charges.
However, these charges were stayed in 2005 as Crown concluded the available evidence did not support a viable prosecution at the time.
In 2012, the IHIT Cold Case Unit was formed and this was their first assigned investigation. After an exhaustive review of the case, additional evidence was obtained and the threshold for charge approval has been met.
Nine years after Bath’s murder, on September 24, 2013, Kevin Hackett, who was then the Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, told the media: “I would like to let the community know that arrests have been made today, and charges secured against, 28-year-old Parminder Singh Basran, who is charged with second-degree murder, and 29-year-old Bhabjit Singh Aujla, who is charged with manslaughter and accessory after the fact. Both men are currently in custody.”
Hackett noted: “Every investigation has its own unique set of facts, challenges and obstacles. This one is no different. In March 2012, a team of dedicated Cold Case investigators was formed within IHIT and now provides our unit an opportunity to focus on those investigations where investigative avenues had been limited and momentum stalled. In most investigations our investigators forge strong bonds with our victim’s family and this was certainly the case here.”
He added: “Amandeep’s family has shown tremendous patience, trust and faith in us. Thank you for that. We hope that this result eases some of the pain and answers some questions.”