Judge allows alleged fraudster, Tarsem Gill, to withdraw guilty plea
Former property developer is accused of scamming $40M from 107 homebuyers and lenders in 2000-02
Tarsem Singh Gill, the man who has avoided five trial dates for charges of committing one of the largest real estate frauds in B.C. history, successfully withdrew his guilty plea on Friday.
Both a real estate fraud expert and a man who says he has been wronged by Gill have criticized him of stalling.
Gill pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud in May 2013, after admitting to scamming nearly $40 million from 77 home buyers and 30 lenders in a complicated pyramid scheme between 2000 and 2002.
In January, Gill applied to withdraw that guilty plea and force a new trial date. The former Vancouver property developer told B.C. Supreme Court justice Terence Schultes he was suffering from depression — including thoughts of suicide — when he pleaded guilty and therefore his judgment was clouded.
You cannot stall the system forever- Ron Usher, real estate fraud expert
Schultes agreed with the defence's argument that Gill's decision-making capacities were impaired at the time. This, he said, left meaningful concerns about the plea's shortcomings.
He said the possibility of a miscarriage of justice is highly possible if the guilty plea is allowed to stand.
Jitti Sehra said he has been wronged by Gill.
"I felt very bad because he [has been] doing this thing for a long time," he said.
"He's gonna delay delay delay, after that the case will be finished."
Real estate fraud expert Ron Usher said he hopes a verdict on the allegations against Gill will come down soon, one way or another.
"There's very determined people working on this case," he said.
"You cannot stall the system forever."
The sixth trial date is yet to be set, but likely will be scheduled for this spring.
With files from CBC's Eric Rankin