Batalia’s accused killer pleading not-guilty: lawyer
CTV British Columbia
Published Monday, December 3, 2012 7:23AM PST
Last Updated Monday, December 3, 2012 9:55PM PST
Slain Simon Fraser University student Maple Batalia’s accused killer intends to plead not-guilty, his lawyer said Monday.
Police revealed over the weekend that charges have been laid against Batalia’s ex-boyfriend Gurjinder Dhaliwal, 20, and his associate Gursimar Bedi, 22, in the Sept. 28, 2011 murder.
The pair appeared Monday in Surrey court, where Dhaliwal’s defence lawyer announced his client’s plea intention.
“I’m hoping that the public can understand the cornerstone of our legal system in that Mr. Dhaliwal, my client, is presumed innocent,” David Albert told reporters.
Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder in Batalia’s death, while Bedi is charged with manslaughter, using a firearm and being an accessory after the fact.
Albert said he doesn’t know what the relationship between his client and Bedi is.
Batalia was gunned down at around 1 a.m. as she was leaving the SFU Surrey campus, where she had been studying in a library.
Her grieving family did not speak about the charges Monday, but Sgt. Jennifer Pound of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team said they had a difficult time at the hearing.
“It’s hard on them to come to court and have to see those two individuals,” Pound said.
Both Dhaliwal and Bedi have been issued a no-contact order prohibiting them from communicating with members of Batalia’s family or each other.
Their next court appearance is set for Dec. 17.
With a report from CTV British Columbia’s Maria Weisgarber