News

Five-year sentence in Abbotsford manslaughter case

Amrit Gill (back, left) is shown arriving at B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack, accompanied by a sheriff and an unidentified man.  - Vikki Hopes
Amrit Gill (back, left) is shown arriving at B.C. Supreme Court in Chilliwack, accompanied by a sheriff and an unidentified man.
— image credit: Vikki Hopes

Amrit Gill has been sentenced to five years, minus two months already served, for the role he played in the stabbing death of 18-year-old Harmin (Harvey) Hans.

In making his decision, Justice William Grist said the crime was an "act of retribution" and although Gill had apologized in court on Wednesday, Grist said he "apologized only for his presence at the scene," which was not an indication of remorse.

Gill, 23, was convicted of manslaughter back in October.

In the early-morning hours of May 24, 2008, Hans was stabbed in the neck and died on the front lawn of his family's Ridgeview Drive home in Abbotsford following an altercation with Gill; Shavinder (Shevy Brar, who previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to five years in prison; and a group of their friends.

Grist had previously said that he cannot conclusively determine whether it was Gill or Brar who stabbed Hans, but both were responsible for the events that led to his death.

Grist said the defence argued that Brar was the one who stabbed Hans; therefore, Gill should receive a lesser sentence. The Justice did not agree.

This argument is not well founded,” he said, adding that culpability was relatively the same.

When announcing his decision, Grist also noted that Gill was 19 at the time of the incident and is a good prospect for rehabilitation.

In addition to his prison term, Gill has also been given a lifetime ban preventing him from owning firearms, ammunition or explosives.

Outside the Chilliwack courthouse, Harminder Hans, the victim's mother, wept uncontrollably.

A family spokesperson said the judge's decision was too lenient.

This kind of punishment is not enough,” said Gurlal Rai, Harvey Hans' uncle. “It doesn't send a message to other young people ... five years is nothing.”

Rai said the sentence should have been much longer.

If he gave him 10 years, then maybe someone else would not grab a knife.”

He added that the family will be affected by the loss for years and there was no saying how long it will take for them to recover.

He was a great kid ... athletic, he played baseball. He was well known in school an academic ... a good kid,” said Rai.

Gill's family was not available for comment.

During the sentencing hearing on Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Carolyn Lawlor said Gill "deliberately orchestrated" the events of that night, in response to a fight that Hans had with Brar's brother.

She recommended a sentence of six to seven years.

Defence Lawyer John Conroy had requested a sentence of two years, less a day.

- with files from Vikki Hopes

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