Randeep Match appeals drug conviction

The Abbotsford man was sentenced to prison in 2012 and is now charged with a murder in Surrey

Randeep Match is shown during his 2009 arrest in Abbotsford for cocaine possession.

Randeep Match is shown during his 2009 arrest in Abbotsford for cocaine possession.

The Abbotsford man charged last week with a murder in Surrey will be in court on Thursday (Dec. 18) seeking to have his prior drug conviction set aside.

Randeep Match, 33, is appealing the September 2012 decision that resulted in his receiving a sentence of five and a half years on a charge of possession for the purpose of trafficking.

The three-judge B.C. Court of Appeal panel can agree to uphold the conviction, set it aside and order a new trial, or acquit Match, which they will only do if they determine the evidence is so weak that a new trial couldn’t end in a conviction.

Match and another Abbotsford man, Manindervir Virk, were arrested in September 2009 after being spotted by the Air One police helicopter  running through a berry field in the area of Mt. Lehman Road and Zero Avenue – along the Canada-U.S. border.

Officers dispatched to the scene discovered four duffel bags filled with 40 bricks of cocaine valued at between $1.4 and $2 million. Match and Virk were found hiding in some bushes and were arrested at the scene.

They were convicted in November 2011 and sentenced the following September.

Information at the sentencing hearing indicated that Match was married with two children and had been a truck driver before becoming a carpet layer.

He was also an active volunteer at the Sikh temple.

Match did not have a criminal record before the drug conviction, although a restraining order was issued against him in January 2009, according to the provincial court database.

Last week, the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team announced that Match was being charged with the second-degree murder of Tarsem (Shane) Dhaliwal, 36, of Surrey.

Dhaliwal was found dead Jan. 21 in a vehicle in the 18900 block of 92nd Avenue in the Port Kells area of Surrey. It was the city’s first homicide of the year.

His cause of death has not been released by police.

Police said Match and Dhaliwal knew each other and the attack was targeted, although they didn’t reveal the motive.