Two years ago, Controversial Punjabi media man Maninder Gill, the owner of Radio India which broadcast from across the US border, was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a shooting which targeted Surrey-based businessman Harjit Atwal, which injured Atwal outside Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple on Aug. 28, 2010 stemming from an on-going feud which culminated in violence. In a three-judge ruling released Thursday, the B.C. Court of Appeal found that the trial judge had misunderstood and overlooked evidence from the accused’s niece, who testified that she thought Gill had told her he’d been stabbed. This may sound like flimsy grounds to grant an appeal to outsoken victim Atwal, who hasn't commented on the ruling yet.
VANCOUVER – Despite what the presiding trial judge B.C. Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Ball found to be overwhelming evidence in finding Punjabi radio man Maninder Singh Gill guilty of offences related to the shooting of local developer Harjit Atwal outside a wedding at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple near 120th Street in Surrey on Aug. 28, 2010, the Appeal court justices granted Gill retrial in the matter, citing that Justice Ball had overlooked evidence.
Two years ago, Controversial media man Gill, the owner of Radio India which broadcast from across the US border, was sentenced to four years in prison in connection with a shooting which targeted Surrey-based businessman Atwal, which injured Atwal outside Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara temple on Aug. 28, 2010 stemming from an on-going feud which culminated in violence.
Gill testified that he was attacked by the controversial Jaspal Atwal and his son Vikram just outside a “shoe tent” set up near the temple. He said that Jaspal had stabbed him in the palm of his left hand with an ice pick or a knife and that Vikram punched him in the head, reported the Vancouver Sun.
Gill told the court that when he pushed Vikram, a revolver slipped out of Vikram’s possession onto the ground. Terrified, Gill said he retrieved the gun, put it in his pocket and fled.
In his version of events, he fired a shot in the air when Harjit Atwal ran toward him. When Harjit Atwal didn’t back off, and seemed to be advancing towards him, he fired a second shot, hitting Harjit Atwal in the hip.
But neither Jaspal Atwal or his son Vikram were charged by police of stabbing Gill and there was a lot of other gaps in Gill's version of events that never added up and don't add up now
The Crown’s theory was that there was no confrontation at the shoe tent and Gill was not stabbed or punched, with Vikram denying that he had a revolver in his possession or that Gill had picked up such a weapon from the ground.
Prosecutors argued Gill brought the revolver with him to the wedding, retrieved it from his car during a post-ceremony confrontation with Vikram and fired at Harjit Atwal when he ran toward him.
The judge rejected Gill’s claim that he’d been acting in self-defence and found him guilty of aggravated assault and firearms offences. Gill was sentenced to four years in jail but released pending his appeal.
At his appeal, he argued that the trial judge had made a number of errors in his assessment of the self-defence claims.
In a three-judge ruling released Thursday, the B.C. Court of Appeal found that the trial judge had misunderstood and overlooked evidence from the accused’s niece, who testified that she thought Gill had told her he’d been stabbed.
“The cumulative effect of such errors is such that the appellant did not receive a fair trial,” said Fitch. “In the result, and for the reasons that follow, I would allow the appeal and order a new trial.” Justice Richard Goepel and Justice Susan Griffin agreed with Fitch’s reasons, reported the Sun.
Richard Peck, a lawyer for Gill, said that a colleague of his had spoken to Gill who was “obviously” pleased at the ruling.
In March of 2016, Gill was convicted of five charges, including aggravated assault and discharging a firearm with intent to wound or disfigure.
"It [took] a long time but finally we have justice," Atwal said at the time but he has not yet given his comments on the appeal victory of Gill, which sets up another trial.
Fifty-five-year-old Gill shot his community rival Atwal in the leg after an on-going feud stemming from defamatory broadcasts made by Gill and his former Radio India stations hosts, including the now deceased Sukhminder Cheema and another unethical and "mentally unstable" Punjabi radio host who continues to work at a another Indo-Canadian radio station. Gill and his hosts were accused of making inflammatory comments about Atwal and his family, including allegedly calling Atwal's former wife a lesbian.
In 2013, former NDP MP Jinny Sims awarded Gill a Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal but the NDP was forced to withdraw the medal.