Family of slain SFU student angered by killer's temporary release
Published Sunday, September 22, 2019 2:43PM PDT Last Updated Monday, September 23, 2019 11:10AM PDT
The family of a Simon Fraser University student gunned down by her ex-boyfriend is outraged after he was granted a temporary release from prison Saturday.
Gurjinder Dhaliwal is currently serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole until 2030, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of 19-year-old Maple Batalia.
Dhaliwal shot Batalia to death in the parking lot of SFU's Surrey campus after seeing her with a male classmate in September 2011.
The Parole Board of Canada granted his temporary, supervised release so that he could attend a viewing Saturday for a grandparent who recently died.
Batalia's sister Roseleen said she initially found out that Dhaliwal had requested a temporary release when the parole board asked her to provide a statement on the request.
Initially, she said, Dhaliwal's request was to visit a sick relative. Batalia, who now lives in the United States, was at work when the board called. She said she had just a few hours to put together her thoughts on why she opposed granting the offender's request.
"It was really hard putting all those thoughts together, because it brings back the same night to me every time," Batalia said.
Soon, Batalia heard that the first request had been denied, but a second one had been made. It wasn't until after Dhaliwal's second request was granted that Batalia learned the new request was to attend a funeral.
Batalia sent a letter to the parole board expressing her displeasure with their decision. In it, she wrote the following:
"By granting him the ability to see his sick grandparent you would be discrediting Maple's ability to do the same. Our Grandma passed away two years ago tragically and Maple couldn't be there because of the offender. I would also like to remind the parole board that Maple did everything in her power to help the offender to improve his life and suffered tremendous amounts of physical and emotional abuse by him. The offender saw her as his property and not a human being when he made the decision to take her life."
Speaking to CTV News Vancouver on Sunday, Batalia added that she feels Canada's justice system moves too slowly and frequently re-victimizes those who have been victims of crimes.
"They base their opinion on him being allowed to attend these events on his ability to reoffend and not on the actual prospect of how it impacts the victim and their family," she said. "That's where I feel the law fails us."
Batalia said she wants the issue of victims' rights to play a more prominent role in the federal election.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Nafeesa Karim
Correction: A previous version of this story indicated Dhaliwal was granted a supervised release to attend a grandparent's funeral. It was actually a viewing for his deceased grandparent.