Charges against husband of teacher may be downgraded
British Columbia Crown Counsel is considering downgrading the charge of second-degree murder against teacher Manjit Panghali's husband to manslaughter.
The 30-year-old mother of a three-year-old daughter, Manjit was four months pregnant with her second child when she was killed.
Her husband -- Mukhtiar Panghali -- waited 26 hours before calling police to report her missing. He also went to the media to plead for her safe return.
The popular Grade 1 teacher at North Ridge Elementary School in Surrey, Manjit was last seen on Oct. 18, 2006, when she left home to attend a local prenatal yoga class. She never arrived at her destination.
Five days later her burned body was found in Delta.
Her husband was eventually charged with second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body. The trial is set for April.
A manslaughter charge would mean the accused didn't intend to kill his wife. It is understood this is an effort to get a plea.
This could mean some changes for the outcome of the case, including the length of time the accused could serve if he's found guilty.
If the case had proceeded on second-degree murder charges and Panghali was found guilty he would get an automatic life sentence.
If he is found guilty of manslaughter he could get anywhere from no time in jail to 25 years. Manslaughter sentences generally are on the lower end of jail time.
What is interesting is that following the preliminary hearing last year, a judge had decided there was enough evidence to proceed on second-degree murder charges.
No response to this development has yet been given by Crown Counsel.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Renu Bakshi.