A man who clobbered a Surrey prostitute with a golf club and sexually assaulted another in two separate cases along rural Colebrook Road has been sentenced to five years in prison.
Simranpreet Dhillon, 24, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and aggravated assault for crimes he commited in August and October 2012, when he was 19. Justice Anthony Saunders sentenced him in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminister, accepting a joint submission presented by the Crown and defence.
“We are blessed with the good fortune to live in one of the safest, most law-abiding countries in the world, and in a society that strives to attain harmony and to affirm the dignities of all peoples,” Saunders stated in his reasons for sentencing. “That actions like this go on in our cities under the cover of the dark of night is profoundly shocking to the average citizen. It is only fit and right that Mr. Dhillon’s conduct be denounced with a lengthy term of imprisonment, as has been recommended to the court in the joint submission.”
|B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster|
There is a publication ban on information that could identify the victims. Prior to Dhillon’s guilty pleas a trial had been set that was expected to run for three weeks. The judge also made him provide a DNA sample and imposed a SOIRA order, putting Dhillon on the Sex Offender Information Registration data base for 20 years. He’s also subject to a 10-year weapons prohibition.
“Mr. Dhillon and his companions preyed on these vulnerable women,” Saunders noted, “negotiating sex for a fee, then taking them to an isolated location, extorting further acts from them with violence or threats of violence, and refusing to pay even the meager fees that had been negotiated.”
The court heard that in the first crime, in August, a prostitute was picked up at King George Boulevard and 91st Avenue by two men in a gold-coloured Chevrolet Cavalier, in which Dhillon was a passenger. She was driven to Colebrook Road, under an overpass. While she was performing a sexual act on Dhillon, the court heard, the other man pulled a sword out of the trunk. She tried to run, but Dhillon grabbed her hair, pulled her back into the car, said nobody would hear her scream and that she was going to have sex with both him and the driver. The court heard the victim had given birth five days earlier.
In the second unrelated crime, in October, Dhillon was behind the wheel this time when he and another man picked up a different prostitute at City Parkway and 105th Avenue, in a small blue four-door sedan. She was taken to Mud Bay Park off Colebrook Road, about one kilometre from the scene of the first sexual assault.
Again, the court heard, Dhillon told the victim nobody would hear her scream, told her “You’re going to do this or else,” and then produced what looked like a golf club. There was a struggle and Dhillon swung the club, hitting her jaw and causing serious injury. The victim suffered compound fractures and lost several teeth. She ran, hid in a ditch, saw the car drive off and then ran to a house for help. Her clothes were recovered near a mailbox a distance away and she was taken to Surrey Memorial Hospital, where she remained for two weeks.
“It is clear that Mr. Dhillon’s savage attack,” Saunders noted, “has severely traumatized her, with effects that will be life-long. She will have to live with the consequences of his brutal actions every day for the rest of her life.”
The judge noted that under the Criminal Code the sentencing range for the sexual assault against the first victim is one to 10 years in prison and a maximum of 14 years for the aggravated assault of the second victim.
“Judges, however, are not free to pronounce any sentence within those maximum or minimum and maximum ranges,” Saunder said in his reasons. “Instead, we are obligated to impose a sentence that reflects the principles and purposes of sentencing criminal offenders as set out in the Criminal Code.”
He explained that the fundamental purpose in sentencing “is to contribute to respect of the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that meet one or more of several stated objectives.
“These objectives include the denunciation of unlawful conduct, the specific deterrence of the offender, and the general deterrence of other persons from committing offences, the separation of offenders from society where necessary, the rehabilitation of offenders, the making of reparations to the victim and to society, and the promotion of a sense of responsibility and acknowledgement of the harm done to victims and the community. The emphasis with these violent crimes we are dealing with in the present case must be on the goals of denunciation and deterrence.”
The court heard Dhillon was born in India and came to Canada in 2005, where he “became enmeshed with a peer group who were antisocial” and “in his desire to fit in, he adopted their negative antisocial behaviour” and everything “came off the rails.”
Saunders noted “it is submitted that Mr. Dhillon takes full responsibilitty for his actions, that he is extremely remorseful and that he is burdened with shame and guilt to the extent that he has twice attempted suicide since his arrest.”