Ottawa

Bhupinderpal Gill, Gurpreet Ronald granted new murder trial

Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald are getting a new trial after an appeal court agreed the judge in their first-degree murder trial made a mistake.

Pair found guilty in 2014 death of Jagtar Gill

Bhupinderpal Gill, left, and Gurpreet Ronald were both charged with first-degree murder in the January 2014 death of Jagtar Gill. (CBC)

Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald are getting a new trial after an appeal court agreed the judge in their first-degree murder trial made a major mistake in charging the jury.

After a highly publicized Superior Court trial, Gill and Ronald were found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Gill's wife, Jagtar Gill, in July 2016.

The 43-year-old mother of three was found stabbed and bludgeoned to death on Jan. 29, 2014 — her 17th wedding anniversary — in the Barrhaven home she shared with her family.

On Tuesday, Ontario's court of appeal ruled the judge made a mistake by failing to instruct the jurors they could convict Ronald of second-degree murder, meaning the crime wasn't premeditated.

The appeal court found that also undermined Bhupinderpal Gill's argument that Ronald had acted alone after a confrontation with Jagtar Gill about their affair, so his defence was affected.

'A huge difference'

"The scenario that we had established that it was a second-degree murder committed by Ronald was not left with the jury," said lawyer James Harbic, who represented Bhupinderpal Gill at the original trial, and will represent him again.

"The jury had a choice that either both of them were involved in planning and deliberating and killing the deceased, or nothing," Harbic said. "We think Mr. Gill, if he's given a fair charge at a new trial, that he will be acquitted, exonerated."

Lawyer Michael Smith, who represented Ronald in the original trial, said the judge's failure to instruct the jury to consider a second-degree murder conviction was a major oversight.

"First degree, it's a life sentence, 25 years [without parole]. Second degree, it's a 10-year parole ineligibility. That's a huge difference in terms of sitting inside of a jail cell for a woman of Ms. Ronald's age, being able to have a life again, if at all," he said.

Court of appeal orders new trial for couple convicted in 2014

3 years ago
Duration 0:42
Ontario's court of appeal ruled the judge made a mistake by not telling the jury it was possible to convict Gurpreet Ronald of second-degree murder. Michael Smith, who represented Ronald in 2014, says a conviction on that charge would have meant eligibility for parole in 10 years rather than 25. 

Smith did not represent Ronald in the appeal, but said he will be talking to her about the new trial.

Both Bhupinderpal Gill and Ronald had worked as OC Transpo drivers.

With files from Matthew Kupfer

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