Poonam Litt's sister-in-law, Mandeep Punia, sentenced to 12 years for manslaughter
Litt was pregnant when she went missing in 2009
Poonam Litt's sister-in-law, Mandeep Punia, was given a 12-year prison term for manslaughter in court on Thursday.
Punia has been in custody since 2012. She will serve a reduced sentence of 5 years, 6 months and 12 days left due to time served in custody, court heard.
Punia cried out "what's going to happen to my kids?" as the verdict was read aloud in the Brampton courthouse.
Someone from Litt's family fired back: "go to hell."
Justice Steve Coroza delivered the sentence.
About 10 members from both the Punia and Litt family were present for the decision. As Coroza read through the facts, Litt's family members held back tears.
The Crown asked for a sentence of 12 to 14 years, while the defence had sought an 8 to 10 year sentence.
Punia was convicted of manslaugter in April, but cleared of a more severe charge of second-degree murder.
Coroza told the court that the Crown did not succeed in proving beyond reasonable doubt that Punia had an intention to kill Poonam Litt. However, he found that "Mandeep knew that stabbing Poonam would certainly cause her significant bodily harm."
He described the victim as defenceless because she was in her home and holding her child while she was stabbed. "There is no place a person should feel safer," he wrote in his decision, listing aggravating factors in deciding on the sentence. Coroza also highlighted the subsequent concealment of the stabbing as another key factor in the sentencing.
This was not a case of accidental homicide, he summarized, but an aggravated manslaughter.
More family members to be sentenced
Punia's husband, Skinder Punia, was sentenced to seven years in prison for helping her dispose of Litt's body.
Punia's father, Kulwant Litt, has pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact for burying Poonam Litt's body. He's set to be sentenced tomorrow, and has been in custody since he was arrested four years ago.
Poonam Litt, 27, was reported missing in February 2009 after she didn't show up for work one morning. She was pregnant at the time of her disappearance and left a two-year-old daughter behind.
Her remains were found in a wooded area of Caledon in 2012.
With files from Jean-Philippe Nadeau