Inderjit Singh Reyat's lies in the witness stand denied justice to the families of the hundreds of people who died in two Air India bombings and he deserves a sentence that's close to the maximum allowable, says the Crown.

Len Doust told the judge who will sentence Reyat for perjury during his testimony at the 2003 trial of two other men accused of mass murder and conspiracy in the 1985 blasts that the convicted bombmaker minimized his own involvement in the plot.

Doust said in his sentencing submission Wednesday that Reyat's evasiveness left many questions forever unanswered about the role that Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri may have played in the terrorist explosions that claimed 331 lives.

Malik and Bagri were acquitted in 2004 after a lengthy trial. Reyat was charged with perjury in 2006 and convicted in September.

The judge at the Air India trial called Reyat "an unmitigated liar," and the Crown accused him of lying 19 times under oath.

"It's difficult to conceive a more serious crime in relation to which perjury might be committed," said Doust, who was the Crown lawyer who cross-examined Reyat for two days at the Air India trial.

"This was, so far as I can ascertain, the most serious criminal offence in the history of our country."

Perjury carries a maximum sentence of 14 years but the highest sentence ever handed out in Canada was six years in an Alberta case, Doust said.

He said Reyat's sentence should be at the high end of the spectrum, with the maximum sentence reserved for someone whose testimony leads to a wrongful conviction.

Reyat, 58, made a plea agreement to serve a five-year manslaughter sentence for the deaths of 329 people aboard Air India Flight 182, which crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on June 23, 1985.

He had already served a 10-year sentence for the same-day explosion at Tokyo's Narita airport, where two baggage handlers died when a suitcase bomb meant for Air India Flight 301 exploded prematurely.

As part of the Air India Flight 182 deal, a "substantial concession by the Crown," Reyat agreed to tell the truth at Malik and Bagri's trial, Doust said in B.C. Supremer Court.

But in court Reyat repeatedly replied "I don't know" and "I don't remember" when asked about his role in collecting explosives used to construct a bomb that was placed inside a suitcase loaded aboard a flight in Vancouver and then transferred to an Air India flight in Toronto.

"Perhaps the most serious aggravating factor in this case is Reyat's demonstration of contempt for the criminal justice system in its effort to determine what occurred, who was responsible for it and to bring them to justice," Doust said.

"If he harboured even the slightest degree of genuine remorse he could have been more forthcoming," Doust said, adding that the victims' families were forced to swallow a "bitter pill" when Reyat received the five-year sentence.

"We don't know the truth of what Reyat really knows. He concealed, in the Crown's submission, virtually everything of consequence that would have been of any assistance relevant to Malik and Bagri."

Reyat's lawyer, Ian Donaldson, called for a two- to three-year sentence, saying Reyat has already been punished enough for his role in the Air India bombings by serving the equivalent of 25 years behind bars.

However, Justice Mark McEwan said the perjury conviction is a separate matter stemming from his duty to tell the truth under oath.

"The essence of the charge is that he did not say what he knew," McEwan said.

The Crown maintains the bombings were a plot by British Columbia-based Sikh extremists targeting government-owned Air India as an act of revenge.

In June 1984, a year before the bombings, hundreds of Sikhs died when the Indian army stormed the Golden Temple in Amritsar in an effort to oust Sikh separatists fighting for an independent homeland.