British Columbia

Criminal charges stayed against controversial figure Jaspal Atwal

The man at the centre of controversy surrounding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's controversial India trip has had all criminal charges against him stayed in a case that stemmed from a confrontation outside a B.C. Punjabi-language radio station in 2018.

Atwal had been accused of uttering threats against B.C. Punjabi-language radio host Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal

Jaspal Atwal, who was convicted for attempted murder in 1986, has had charges against him stayed in connection to allegations of threats and bodily harm dating back to April 2018. (CBC News)

Charges against a central figure in the controversy that surrounded Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's 2018 trip to India have been stayed.

Jaspal Atwal was charged last May with uttering threats against Gurvinder Singh Dhaliwal, host of a daily Punjabi-language talk show.

Atwal was charged with one count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in the alleged incident, which is said to have occurred on April 23, 2018, according to documents filed in a Surrey, B.C., court.

Atwal has always denied the charges.

The B.C. Prosecution Service wrote in an emailed statement it decided to drop proceedings against Atwal on June 7 after further information was received by the prosecutor in the case.

"After reviewing this information and the rest of the file materials, the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard could no longer be met," the statement said.

A stay of proceedings can occur if it is determined there isn't a likelihood of conviction, or if public interest would not be served by prosecuting. Crown prosecutors can decide to reinstate charges within one year of staying proceedings.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau with Jaspal Atwal at an Indian film industry event in Mumbai during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's official visit to India in February 2018. (Supplied by Jaspal Atwal)

Atwal, a Canadian of Indian descent, was previously convicted of attempted murder for trying to assassinate Indian cabinet minister Malkiat Singh Sidhu while he was visiting Vancouver Island in 1986. Atwal served time in prison and was later released on parole. 

During Justin Trudeau's 2018 visit to India, Atwal turned up at an official event and got an invitation to another at the Canadian High Commission in Delhi.