Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Sept. 19, 2005)

Would you like fries with you crow, Mr. Martin?

  By John Martin

Looks like I blew the street racer story big time.  On more than one occasion I have used this space to virtually guarantee that Bahadur Bhalru and Sukhir Khosa, who killed Irene Thorpe, would never actually be deported.  Even though I was stunned by a gutsy Immigration Department ruling that the two losers were to be kicked out of Canada, I never for a second believed it would actually happen.

Surely some bleeding heart along the way would overturn the decision and allow them to stay in Canada.  Or there would be a concern about someone supposedly being punished twice.  Or that deportation was much too extreme a punishment for the particular circumstances of the case.  And of course, it was just a matter of time till the usual desperate attempt to portray deportation as an overt act of racism would be recklessly thrown out.

So I was as surprised as anyone to watch the news the other day and see Bhalru bubbling away that itís not fair he canít stay here.  And it looks like his partner in crime will similarly soon be on a plane back to India.  Good riddance creeps.

It sure was a different Bhalru crying throughout his prepared statement at the airport.  Who can ever forget the footage of both of them grinning and laughing at the TV cameras during the trial?  They knew the courts wouldnít do anything to them, and they were right.  Ultimately, they were both grounded for killing a woman out for an evening walk.  I noticed Bhalru wasnít laughing and smirking at the camera this time round.  I wonder why? 

But they never counted on the fact that such a conviction made them ineligible to stay in the country.  What made the decision to uphold the deportation even more surprising is that immigration officials have been notoriously reluctant to kick out undesirables a lot worse than Bhalru and Khosa.  Who knows?  Maybe this is the start of something big and it wonít be so easy for gangsters, war criminals, murderers, rapists and drug dealers to waltz into the country and stay for however long they choose.

Still, the actual criminal justice system itself shows no sign itís about to reform.  The sentence of house arrest given to the two street racers was wholly inadequate for the taking of an innocent life.  People, politicians and pundits were outraged.  But the system upheld the decision on appeal and continues to use house arrest as the sanction of choice for all forms of homicide other than first or second degree murder.

So, even though the court thinks that killing someone while street racing (or trying to evade police in a stolen vehicle) is a minor offence that doesnít even warrant a single day in jail, itís nice to see that the immigration department still considers homicide in a serious light.

No one likes being proven wrong Ė but Iíll gladly wear it this time round. 

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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