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Surrey man sentenced to 6 years for role in drug-debt killing

Andrew Baldwin was stabbed to death in Surrey, B.C., on Nov. 11, 2019. (Surrey RCMP) Andrew Baldwin was stabbed to death in Surrey, B.C., on Nov. 11, 2019. (Surrey RCMP)
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A drug dealer from Surrey, B.C., has been sentenced to six years behind bars for his role in the 2019 stabbing death of a 30-year-old man over a drug debt.

British Columbia Supreme Court Justice Martha Devlin found that Munroop Singh Hayer, 30, and two of his associates, had orchestrated the knife attack on Andrew Baldwin on Nov. 11, 2019.

The three men pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April 2023, arguing they did not intend to kill Baldwin. Hayer's co-accused – Jordan Bottomley and Jagpal Singh Hothi – were sentenced to eight years and three years in prison, respectively.

While it was Bottomley who stabbed Baldwin to death, the judge found it was Hayer who ordered his underling to visit Baldwin and threaten him over the debt owed to the group.

Hayer began pressuring Baldwin to repay the $5,000 debt in the fall of 2019, even texting the man's mother and warning her to prepare for her son's funeral.

"If you really care for him and want everything to be good do him a favour and just pay it for him," one of the messages said.

'Rough him up'

Six weeks later, Hayer told Bottomley to visit Baldwin and threaten him over the debt, the court heard.

Hayer said in a pre-sentencing report that he believed Bottomley would confront Baldwin at a friend's home and "rough him up," the court heard.

"Mr. Hayer knew he was encouraging and telling Mr. Bottomley to participate in an inherently dangerous situation and that Mr. Baldwin was likely to be threatened, intimidated and/or suffer bodily harm as a result," the judge found.

Bottomley and Hothi arrived at the home near the intersection of Lien Road and 124 Street around 4:45 p.m. Two minutes later, Bottomley returned to the vehicle "bleeding, covered in blood, with visible injuries and breathing heavily," the judge said.

Hayer and Hothi had a brief phone call a few minutes later, after which Hayer stopped using the phone altogether, the court heard.

"I find as a fact that Mr. Hayer deliberately stopped using his phone ending in -0521 to distance himself from the killing of Mr. Baldwin," the judge said. "Later that evening, Mr. Hayer worked with Mr. Hothi to provide drugs to Mr. Bottomley."

'Hayer was the instigator'

Baldwin, who was found unresponsive inside the home that evening, was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Hothi and Bottomley were charged in the death in January 2020, while Hayer was charged the following December.

Crown prosecutors sought a 12-year prison sentence for Hayer, arguing the case fell on the "near murder" end of the manslaughter spectrum, the court heard.

Hayer's defence lawyer countered that five years in prison was appropriate, arguing that when Hayer told Bottomley to confront Baldwin over the debt, he did not know that Bottomley would be armed.

"I find that this is an important factor that distinguishes Mr. Hayer from Mr. Bottomley," the judge said, accepting that Hayer did not know Bottomley would confront Baldwin with a knife. "However, Mr. Hayer was the instigator of the confrontation on Mr. Baldwin. His moral blameworthiness is thus greater than that of Mr. Hothi, whom I found to be a participant in the plan devised by Mr. Hayer."

The judge reduced Hayer's six-year sentence to five years and four months, crediting the time he has already served in pre-trial custody. Hayer is also barred from possessing any firearms or ammunition for a period of 10 years after his release.

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