Calgary·Updated

Man accused of murdering teen in hit and run has 20-year history with police and courts

The Calgary man accused of murdering a 15-year-old boy in a hit and run three weeks ago has a history of violence, CBC News has learned.

Udham Sandhu, 37, to make first court appearance Thursday

Calgary police are looking to identify a man, left, believed to have knowledge about the hit-and-run death of 15-year-old Ibaad Yar, right. The man is believed to be in his 30s, between five foot four and five foot eight and 165 pounds. (Calgary Police Service )

The Calgary man accused of murdering a 15-year-old boy in a hit and run three weeks ago has a history of violence, CBC News has learned.

Udham Sandhu, 37, is charged with the second-degree murder of Ibaad Yar, 15, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.

On Thursday, the same day Sandhu made his first court appearance, police released photos of a man investigators want help identifying, believing he has information related to the homicide. 

The man is believed to be in his 30s, and is between five foot four and five foot eight and weighs about 165 pounds. The photos released by police show the man before and after the crash. 

Sandhu made a brief court appearance, which was adjourned two weeks. His lawyer says the plan is to eventually apply for bail. 

The accused killer has a history involving police and the courts dating back to 2001, although many of the charges he's faced over the years have been stayed or withdrawn.

Calgary police have released photos of a man at a home in the Saddleridge area on the night of a fatal hit-and-run, in hopes of furthering the investigation. Photos show the man before and after the collision. (Calgary Police Service )

Late-night crash 

On May 13, around 2:30 a.m., a Dodge Journey was struck from behind by a Buick Allure on 52nd Street at 16th Avenue N.E. The collision sent the Journey across the centre median.

Ibaad Yar was ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

The Buick stopped for a short time before fleeing the scene and was eventually found abandoned in the Saddle Ridge area.

Two weeks later, Sandhu was arrested and charged. 

'He's weathered the storm'

Sandhu's lawyer, Balfour Der, says Thursday's court appearance will likely involve a weeks-long adjournment as he awaits disclosure — the evidence gathered during the police investigation — to be handed over by prosecutors.

Der says he still knows very little about the circumstances surrounding the charges his client is facing.

Sandhu, says Der, is a business owner and has a family.

"Overall he's weathered the storm thus far, it's as good as it can be, I suppose," said Der.

History of criminal charges

Sandhu's history with police and the courts dates back nearly 20 years.

In 2001, Sandhu was charged with assault with a weapon, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and causing a disturbance by fighting.

The following year he was handed a conditional sentence, to be served in the community, and a 10-year ban on owning firearms, which would have expired in 2012.

Sandhu was found guilty of breaching his conditional sentence three times and was sent to jail in 2003.

'Too early' to jump to conclusions, says lawyer

New charges — housebreaking and assault with a weapon — stemming from incidents in late 2001 and early 2002 were stayed.

A robbery charge against Sandhu was withdrawn in 2004.

He pleaded guilty to failing to comply with court imposed conditions in 2005. 

In September 2005, Sandhu was charged with assault causing bodily harm, making death threats, housebreaking and mischief. Those charges were stayed three years later.

Der says his client is entitled to the presumption of innocence. 

"There's always a natural tendency … for people, when they hear stories like this, to jump to conclusions about the guilt of an accused person, especially when there's a younger person involved as a victim," said Der.

"But as time has proven over many, many, many years, it's only when all of the evidence is heard at a trial that one can really get the true picture of this."

"It's way too early to come to that conclusion."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter.

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