By Jagdeesh Mann (@jagdeeshmann)
Special to The Post
Two men charged in the fatal shooting of a Surrey man in 2004 pled guilty recently to charges connected to the case. Parminder (Pindu) Singh Basran and Bhabjit (Bobby) Singh Aujla pled guilty to manslaughter and assault respectively on March 3rd in the New Westminster Court.
Basran was charged with second degree murder, while Aujla was facing one count of manslaughter and a second of accessory after the fact.
On Sept. 24, 2004, Bath, 27, was confronted by the two men when he was returning home to the 9100 block of 125th Street. He had spent an evening out with friends
The accused assaulted Bath outside his house, and then pursued Bath’s vehicle in a high-speed chase, eventually cutting him off, again near his home. Bath, who had no criminal connections, was shot in the head outside of his house while on the phone with the 911 operator.
The re-opening and subsequent convictions in this case are both extremely unusual given this shooting was a ‘cold case’ for many years.
Basran and Aujla were first charged with murder and manslaughter charges in 2004 but had the charged dropped in 2005. At the time the Crown said that the evidence “no longer supported a viable prosecution.”
The two men were re-charged in 2013, nine year after Bath’s killing. Now, thirteen years later, they have been convicted in the case.
IHIT leader Supt. Kevin Hackett said in 2013, the arrests came after the IHIT “cold case team,” formed in March 2012, took another look at the file and saw new avenues of investigation. He said Bath’s murder weighed heavily on investigators.
“His family’s life changed forever,” Hackett said. “Amandeep’s family has shown tremendous patience, trust and faith in us.” Hackett said while every homicide investigation is important to IHIT, “we have to prioritize.” “Mr. Bath did not deserve to die that day,” he said. “It touched a nerve.”
Speaking to The Vancouver Sun in 2013 when the charges were laid for a second time, Bath’s aunt Kamaljit Khela said the family never gave up hope that they would get justice one day.
She described her nephew, who lived at home and worked at an accountant’s office, as a “a very down-to-earth and gentle person.”
“His loss has left a big hole in our hearts that can never be repaired,” Khela said.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 13th at 10am in the New Westminster Court.