A young offender has been sentenced to three years in custody in connection with the vicious beatings of two elderly Indo-Canadian men in a park in Surrey. The 15-year-old boy, who had been found guilty of manslaughter, aggravated assault and robbery, received the maximum sentence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. In July 2005, Mewa Singh Bains, 83, and Shingara Singh Thandi, 76, were beaten with baseball bats by two teenagers in the public washrooms at Bear Creek Park. Thandi died three weeks later in hospital. Bains, who was beaten the day before Thandi, died of a stroke a month after being attacked. The boys, who cannot be identified because they were 13 and 15 at the time of the attack, had initially been charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of Thandi.
But the charge was reduced to manslaughter after B.C. Supreme Court Justice William Grist said the boys lacked the experience and foresight to show murderous intent. The two youths were not charged with murder in Bains's death because it could not be linked directly to the attack. In handing down his sentence on the one teen Wednesday, Grist said he considered the violent nature of the attacks on Bains and Thandi. He said the actions of the teen were shocking considering he was only 13 at the time. Grist acknowledged the youth expressed remorse for his actions but questioned if he was really sorry for what he did.
The families of the men expressed outrage at the sentence. Thandi's son Jhalman said the justice system has ignored his family's loss. "What [the judge] should keep in mind [is] that they killed two people and it was a planned attack, it did not happen … accidentally." The mother of the teen — who, under a court order, can't be identified — expressed her condolences to both families. "I feel really bad for what my son has done, but I just want to let them know that we're praying for them and their families." The second teen will be sentenced as an adult in mid-June.