Alleged victim angry as assault charge dropped against relative of NDP leader and Liberal MP

Victim Yashdeep Shinde said the Crown never consulted him about its decision to drop the charge and he said he suspects outside influences were at play

Article content

An Ontario man reacted bitterly Wednesday after prosecutors dropped an assault charge against a relative of two federal politicians who shoved him to the ground during a clash between Sikh-Canadian and pro-India demonstrators.

A judge did impose a “peace bond” on Jodhveer Dhaliwal, the brother-in-law of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and a cousin-in-law of Liberal MP Ruby Sahota.

It means he cannot directly or indirectly contact the alleged victim, Yashdeep Shinde, for a year.

But Shinde said the Crown never consulted him about its decision, which he said he learned of from the National Post, and he said he suspects outside influences were at play.

“I feel now justice is not being done at all,” said the 48-year-old, an IT manager at a major bank. “The way this has gone about seems to be some sort of a deal on the political level, because this person is connected.… And the prosecutors just backed off.”

Advertisement

Article content

Shinde also voiced surprise at a suggestion from Dhaliwal’s lawyer that medical records indicate he had not broken his arm in the incident, as he told police. In fact, he said he was in a cast for more than three months and a radiologist’s report he shared with the Post indicates he had a fracture of the scaphoid, a bone in the wrist.

Defence lawyer Harval Bassi stressed in court that his client admits no criminal or civil liability for what happened.

A spokeswoman for Singh said the NDP leader and his staff never contacted prosecutors about the case. Sahota’s office could not be reached for comment.

Advertisement

Article content

The incident in question, captured on video and spread widely online, underscored what appeared to be mounting tensions within the Indo-Canadian community stemming from unrest in India.

A group of mostly Hindu supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a car rally through the Toronto-area city of Brampton on Feb. 28.

It was met by Sikh-Canadian counter-demonstrators and came to a halt when Dhaliwal “parked his car on the roadway and got out of his vehicle and began antagonizing the rally participants,” Crown prosecutor Nazampal Jaswal told court Wednesday.

“Mr. Dhaliwal approached Mr. Shinde’s vehicle, yelling and cursing before taking his rally flags from the windows,” she said. “At this time, Mr. Shinde exited his vehicle and confronted Mr. Dhaliwal.… This led to a heated verbal argument, which escalated to the point where Mr. Dhaliwal aggressively walked toward the victim and pushed him to the ground.”

Advertisement

Article content

But Bassi said Dhaliwal, 30, disagrees with the prosecutor’s characterization of the event as a “Canada-India peace rally.”

I feel now justice is not being done at all

There were “political undercurrents” to the demonstration, he said. It came after a number of peaceful demonstrations in the Brampton area that supported Indian farmers who faced strong-arm tactics while protesting controversial new agriculture laws, noted Bassi.

He also said the original charge of assault causing bodily harm was based on Shinde’s claim his arm was broken in the attack. But medical records suggest there was no fracture, and that was one reason the Crown withdrew the lesser charge of assault, too, he told court.

“I’m not going to harp on what rationale or motivations there were for saying there was a fracture when there wasn’t,” he said. “But Mr. Dhaliwal absolutely does not admit any criminal or civil liability emanating from those allegations.”

Advertisement

Article content

Jaswal did not indicate why the Crown was withdrawing the charge.

Brian Gray, an Attorney General’s Ministry spokesman, said later that the decision was made after Dhaliwal completed anger management counseling. The Crown will sometimes withdraw or stay charges when an accused undergoes a diversion program or agrees to enter a peace bond, he said.

Prosecutors are obliged to act independently and according to legal principles, free of “outside pressure or considerations,” Gray added.

Justice Shannon McPherson ordered Dhaliwal’s peace bond at a virtual hearing that lasted less than 10 minutes, while saying “the dynamics may not be precisely as in the allegations.”

The April 8 report from Osler hospital’s Dr. Sunel Sookdeo that Shinde shared indicates he had a “right-waist scaphoid fracture.” The scaphoid often breaks when someone sticks out a hand to arrest a hard fall. Part of the injury has not completely healed, Shinde said.

“It is still fractured, technically. What are they talking about?”

Regardless, he said prosecutors never spoke to him before Wednesday’s court hearing, despite promises from Peel Regional Police he would be informed when the case came to a head.

He said the rally was meant to celebrate India’s donation of two million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Canada and closer relations generally between the countries.

But the reasons behind what had been a peaceful demonstration should have no bearing on the case, said Shinde.

“The person assaulted me,” he charged, “and that’s all there was to it.”

Advertisement

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Alleged victim angry as assault charge dropped against relative of NDP leader and Liberal MP