Was Published

6 days ago

News Source: cbc.ca
'I Am Afraid': Taxi Driver's Sexual Assault To Result In Deportation To India
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'I Am Afraid': Taxi Driver's Sexual Assault To Result In Deportation To India

In his bid to remain in Canada, Gurpreet Singh Gill lamented the impact of his crime on many collateral victims.

His wife — who faces the loss of her home. His daughter — who may have to leave private school and dance lessons. His son — born 10 days before Gill sexually assaulted a passenger in his taxi cab in 2012.

But there's one victim the 42-year-old didn't mention in his plea for compassion from a Canadian Federal Court judge: the young woman who said Gill's actions changed her life forever.

"I am already filled with regret from my actions and conviction. I have brought shame to my family, and I understand that there are consequences for my conduct," Gill wrote in an affidavit sworn to bolster his case to avoid deportation.

"However, my deepest regret is that my children will suffer for my conduct."

Last week, Judge Luc Martineau dismissed Gill's application for a judicial review of an immigration officer's decision to reject the Surrey man's attempt to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

The ruling brings to an end a tragic journey that began with Gill's arrival in Canada a decade ago with his wife and young daughter.

Although highly educated, he was unable to get his Indian degrees accepted for Canadian certification and ended up working as a Yellow Cab taxi driver.

And on Sept. 2, 2012, at approximately 1:45 a.m., a woman referred to in court documents as K hopped into the front seat of his cab after leaving a bachelorette party.

She was tipsy. And after giving directions to her boyfriend's house, K fell asleep.

Gill put the visor on the passenger side down, blocking the security camera's view of the inside of the cab — a factor the sentencing judge would later claim as aggravating.

According to the record of the case, Gill touched K's leg and she brushed his hand away, saying "no." He then pushed her underwear aside and stuck two fingers into her vagina.

"Ms. K reacted by saying 'stop' and hitting the accused's forearm. She then moved closer to the passenger side door," the sentencing decision says.

Gill "tried to kiss her, and ultimately slobbered on Ms. K's left lip and cheek area."

He dropped her off at her boyfriend's house and in the hours that followed, she underwent a forensic sexual assault examination at B.C. Women's Hospital.

The subject of Gill's possible deportation came up during the sentencing proceedings, because the judge was asked to consider a suspended sentence or a maximum of six months less a day — both of which would have seen him stay in Canada.

"This was disgraceful and disgusting conduct committed by a man in a position of trust who Ms. K was entitled to believe would transport her in a safe and reliable environment to her destination," wrote B.C. Supreme Court Justice Patrice Abrioux.

A jury convicted Gill in 2014 and he was sentenced to three years in 2015. He fought the case to B.C.'s Court of Appeal, where his sentencing and conviction were upheld in 2017.

According to the Federal Court ruling, Gill's wife and daughter didn't tell his six-year-old son that he was in jail.

"They tell him that their father is working 'there' and because it is far from their home, he has to live there," the decision says.

He was granted day parole, but the parole board denied Gill full parole, saying he continues to minimize his actions: "Indeed in his application for parole, he referred to his sexual assault as, 'non-violent.'"

In his affidavit, Gill says his wife won't be able to pay their mortgage without him and his children may have to leave the private school that costs the family $4,000 a year.

"More than that, I have so much fear about leaving my wife and children alone and without support in Canada."

Gill also claimed his parents had been shunned in India by other family members as a result of his actions. And he feared worse.

But Martineau said he saw no reason to intervene in the deportation process, saying it was Gill's actions that led to his criminal inadmissibility to Canada.

"This breach of the social contract can lead not only to consequences imposed by the criminal court," the judge wrote.

"But also to [Gill's] loss of his immigration status and related privileges."