With his sons seated behind him, former Surrey temple leader Baldev Singh Kalsi learned this week he will spend nearly 10 more years in jail for killing their mother.
Kalsi, 70, pleaded guilty last November to manslaughter in connection with the July 2014 death of his wife, Narinder, who succumbed to injuries suffered during an argument in their South Surrey home.
In imposing sentence Tuesday, Justice Trevor Armstrong considered evidence including that Kalsi had hit his wife with an iron, stomped on her and took no steps to get her medical attention for more than four hours.
He also took into account that the crime – described by the judge as “akin to murder” – occurred in the bedroom of the couple’s home.
Narinder Kalsi suffered a “gratuitous, unrelenting and callous beating… (in) a place she was entitled to feel secure,” Armstrong said.
Police said immediately following the crime that she was found in severe medical distress at a home in the 19400-block of 32 Avenue.
At sentencing, Armstrong recounted evidence that she was found bleeding from her face, head and mouth, and had a “three- to four-inch laceration” on her throat.
The judge said that the couple – married 45 years, and parents to three boys – had shared an “intermittently strained” marriage and that days prior to the violence, a rift had developed following an argument between Narinder Kalsi and her sister-in-law. Baldev Kalsi denies that rift, the judge noted.
On July 13, 2014, an argument began while Baldev Kalsi was ironing clothes.
An expert deemed that Narinder Kalsi had been struck with an iron several times, Armstrong said. The court had heard that Kalsi went to the bathroom to wash the blood off his hands, then left the home.
“At that point, Mr. Kalsi believed his wife was still alive,” the judge said, noting that 4½ hours later, another family member alerted emergency crews.
On July 20, 2014, Narinder Kalsi was taken off of life support and her husband was charged with second-degree murder.
Baldev Kalsi pleaded guilty to manslaughter last fall, on what was scheduled to be the first day of his trial.
Last month, Crown and defence lawyers submitted a joint sentence agreement suggesting a total term of 11 years in jail. Last week, the proceedings were delayed after Kalsi’s second lawyer, Peter Wilson, informed the court that he had been dismissed.
Kalsi’s original lawyer on the matter, Les Mackoff, returned to court Tuesday to assist in concluding the case, and Armstrong declared his agreement with an 11-year sentence, less 477 days for time served.
The judge rejected a request by Kalsi to receive additional credit for time served, which his lawyer had argued was warranted due to the fact he was assaulted while in pretrial custody and hospitalized for six days.
Armstrong noted mitigating factors included Kalsi’s “unblemished history of positive, charitable” work in the community, and that the guilty plea spared his family the additional pain of testifying at trial.
At the conclusion of the proceedings, Kalsi, who had been out on bail since May 28, 2015, followed a sheriff out of the first-floor courtroom carrying only a small black bag.
After sentencing, family members declined to speak with media, however, outside court Mackoff touched on the impact of the crime.
“It’s a double-loss for all three of the boys and their families, and that’s something that can never really be recaptured,” he said. “It’s one of those unfortunate things that will follow them for the rest of their lives, as well.”
Nine years and seven months remain in Kalsi’s sentence.