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Appeal dismissed for Mission man who murdered nephew in 2004
An appeal has been dismissed for a Mission man convicted of the 2004 second-degree murder of his nephew.
The ruling was issued Tuesday in the B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver against Jagjit Bhullar, who was appealing his conviction on the basis that errors were made at his trial, resulting in an unfair ruling.
Jagjit has been serving a life sentence, with no eligibility of parole for 15 years, for stabbing his 22-year-old nephew, Sarbjit Bhullar, in the neck on Nov. 25, 2004 in their home in Mission. Two of Sarbjit's blood vessels were severed, resulting in his death.
Sarbjit had been adopted by Jagjit and his wife at the age of five and was living with them at the time.
Jagjit owned a hair salon in Abbotsford. About one week after the murder, police executed a search warrant there and found a plastic bag concealed above some ceiling tiles.
The bag contained a pair of blue jeans with obvious bloodstains and a red fleece jacket with what appeared to be diluted bloodstains. The stains on the jeans were later found to match the victim's DNA.
The Crown's theory at trial was that Jagjit killed Sarbjit to collect $500,000 in life insurance.
Jagjit's lawyer, Joseph Blazina, argued at the appeal hearing that trial evidence showing his client had cheated on his income tax should not have been considered by the jury as evidence of bad character, and the judge should have instructed them as such.
Blazina argued that, additionally, the Crown failed to disclose information which would have cast doubt on police testimony that someone had attempted to wash the fleece jacket before it had been found by police.
He argued that the Crown used this testimony as a sign that Jagjit was guilty and had attempted to destroy evidence. Information should have been presented at the trial to show that a senior RCMP officer, conducting a review of the investigation files on the case, was concerned about the conclusion that the jacket had been washed, Blazina said.
However, Justice Harvey Groberman concluded at the appeal hearing that these issues would not have had any effect on the jury's verdict, as they were of minor importance compared to the preponderance of evidence pointing to his guilt.
" ... there was no realistic possibility that the jury would be led to conclude that since the appellant cheated on his taxes .. he was therefore more likely to have committed the cold-blooded murder of his son," Groberman said.