A Surrey man who whipped his wife with a USB cable then beat his mother to death when she tried to intervene has been sentenced to 11½ years in prison.
Provincial court judge Alexander Wolf noted that Sukhvir Singh Badhesa's two young children witnessed the whole thing.
Badhesa, 39, pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the Crown argued the "act of killing his mother is close to the 'near murder' side of culpability."
Alcohol, mental illness and tragedy
Wolf gave Badhesa 10 years for the death of his mother — two less than the Crown wanted. But to reflect the seriousness of domestic abuse, Wolf also handed down an 18-month sentence for Badhesa's assault on his wife; Crown had asked for a year.
The sentences are to be served consecutively.
The killing occurred in March 2016, after Badhesa, who has a history of depression, had been drinking and smoking opium for up to four days.
Wolf said the tragedy highlights the issues of mental illness and substance abuse that are plaguing the justice system.
"It is my experience that many, if not most, crimes of violence in our court system have been committed while a person was under the influence of alcohol," he said.
"We must actively take steps to do anything we can to support professional, medical and mental-health interventions. Failing to provide for those that suffer from mental illness will certainly lead to more unimaginable tragedies."
'Putting the wire all over my mom's body'
Badhesa lived with his 35-year-old wife and their two daughters, who were aged seven and one at the time of the attacks. His 61-year-old mother had come to Canada to live with them a little more than a year earlier.
Badhesa's anger flared on the night of the incident. When his wife tried to calm him, he punched a hole in the wall. She fled upstairs with the children.
"It was then that the accused went upstairs and began whipping and hitting his wife all over her body with a USB cable," Wolf wrote in his decision.
"At some point in time his daughters woke up and witnessed the whipping. One daughter described the whipping to the police as 'putting the wire all over my mom's body'.
"Photographs of the injuries suffered are gruesome, disturbing and show what no doubt will be lifelong physical scars."
Badhesa's mother tried to stand between the couple and told her son to go to bed.
But he pushed her aside. When she went back to her bedroom, Badhesa followed.
"He kicked his mother multiple times in the head, upper body and torso area. She died as a result of the blunt force injuries to her head," Wolf wrote.
"She suffered a terrible beating at the hands of her son. After the accused's wife and daughter both saw his mother lying on the floor and believed that she was dead, the two young girls managed to escape to the neighbour's place."
The defence argued for a sentence that would have seen Badhesa serve two years less a day.
While the Crown was willing to concede that Badhesa had some degree of mental illness, they argued that one of the main reasons for the crime was his intoxication.
Wolf accepted the accused's mental problems as a mitigating factor but found that it did not significantly lessen his moral blameworthiness.
'She wants the marriage to continue'
According to a pre-sentencing report, Badhesa wants to "put this incident behind him."
Wolf cited the report in his decision.
"With regards to how his children have been impacted by the offence, [Badhesa] states, 'If [they have a] good life in future, then they will forget.'
"He states that upon his release from custody, he will ensure his children have a good life, so that is all they remember."
His wife also appears ready to move on.
"I understand she wants the marriage to continue," Wolf wrote.
"She envisions a future when she and her husband can take the remains of his mother back to India to the holy river," he said.