Charges against Jaspal Atwal for uttering threats stayed by B.C. prosecutors

Charges against Jaspal Atwal for uttering threats stayed by B.C. prosecutors
The charges against the man once at the centre of controversy stemming from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ill-fated trip to India have been stayed.

Jaspal Singh Atwal was charged in May 2018 with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in connection to an incident involving a Punjabi radio host in Surrey, B.C on April 23, 2018.

On Monday, the B.C. Prosecution Service (BCPS) confirmed those charges were stayed on June 7, citing further information received by Crown.

“After reviewing this information and the rest of the file materials the prosecutor concluded the charge approval standard could no longer be met,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “In these circumstances a stay of proceedings is the appropriate course of action.”

The BCPS would not go into detail about what that information was or where it came from, but did say it made the possibility of conviction in the case unlikely.

Atwal pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were announced. At the time, his lawyer, Marvin Stern, said he intended to “vehemently deny” the allegations.

The former Sikh separatist militant was previously convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in B.C. in 1986.

He became a central figure in Trudeau’s troubled visit to India in February 2018 after he was spotted mingling with members of the Canadian government delegation at an event in Mumbai.

Atwal was also invited to a second event in New Delhi, but his invitation was rescinded after media exposed his identity to the public.

The nature of Atwal’s relationship with Trudeau, his family and the Liberal government sparked weeks of calls from the opposition for a proper explanation.

At one time, a government spokesperson tried to suggest Atwal was cleared to attend the events in an attempt by factions in India to embarrass Trudeau, but that claim was never backed up.

Atwal was also the subject of a bizarre press conference in B.C. shortly after the India controversy broke, where Atwal read from a prepared statement explaining his presence at the events.

The press conference became heated when Atwal’s lawyer Rishi Gill was challenged on why his client wouldn’t take direct questions from the media.
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