Surjit Singh Dosanjh sentenced to 14 years for setting fire that killed son, mother-in-law

SURJIT Singh Dosanjh, 40, of Richmond, who was found guilty of two counts of manslaughter last July, has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for setting a fire on April 13, 2015, that killed his son and mother-in-law.

His mother-in-law and teenage son who were sleeping in a room they shared died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dosanjh was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty to both counts, but was convicted of manslaughter in July.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Peter Voith, whose reasons for sentencing were posted online last Monday, said “Dosanjh’s threatening and violent behaviour in the weeks and days before the fire are an aggravating factor.”

One month before the fire, a woman ended a long-term relationship with Dosanjh. “He was angry … His comments and behaviours when interacting with both [the woman] and others were erratic, irrational, and threatening,” Voith wrote in his reasons for sentencing.

Dosanjh was convicted on the lesser offence of manslaughter because Voith said he was not satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Dosanjh intended to for his mother-in-law to die. Voith also said Dosanjh didn’t expect his son to be home that night.

Dosanjh was sentenced to 14 years on each count, served concurrently, but will be in prison just under nine years with credit for time already served.

The judge said: “There are comparatively few mitigating circumstances that are relevant. It is relevant that Mr. Dosanjh appears to have been a hard worker who supported his family. He was in many senses a good father … He certainly loved or loves his children. These attributes suggest that Mr. Dosanjh has an ability to lead a pro-social life and are relevant to the issue of rehabilitation.”


Link to judgment: