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Trial Of Murdered Indo-Canadian Maple Batalia Begins Next Week

Gurjinder “Gary” Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder in the death of teen Maple Batalia, while co-accused Gursimar Singh Bedi is charged with manslaughter with a firearm and being an accessory after the fact.

SURREY – The trial of two Indo-Canadian men, alleged to have murdered teen Maple Batalia, who was fatally shot at Surrey SFU campus nearly four-and-a-half years ago, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Gurjinder “Gary” Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Batalia, while co-accused Gursimar Singh Bedi is charged with manslaughter with a firearm and being an accessory after the fact.

The two are being tried together and the trial was to begin earlier this week. But during a brief court appearance Tuesday, lawyers for the accused told the judge they needed more time to review documents.

Their trial is now scheduled to start March 1 in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

The trail was expected to open this week but Schultes agreed to adjourn the trial for a week, at defence lawyer Simon Buck’s request, so he can first review a ruling the judge is expected to deliver on Monday morning.

Batalia, 19, was gunned down in a parkade outside SFU Surrey on Sept. 28, 2011. Dhaliwal was her ex-boyfriend, and was charged, along with Bedi, in 2012.

Batalia’s family says the slow court process has been difficult for them. Last year they started an online petition entitled “Justice for Maple” asking for better victim support and the outlawing of delay tactics often used by accused to postpone a trial, such as switching lawyers.

Dhaliwal was charged in December 2012 and his trial was originally supposed to go ahead a year ago.

“She said, ‘I’ll be 10 minutes more, I’m doing my homework,'” Batalia’s brother Kulmeet told their mom during what would be their final conversation.

Shortly after Batalia was killed, a couple hundred people attended a candlelight vigil for her at Holland Park and about the same number came one year later, to show they haven’t forgotten. Her family has raised more than $50,000 for a bursary in her name, to benefit female students enrolled in Simon Fraser University’s health sciences program, reported the Now newspaper.

At one point 25 homicide detectives were working on the case, around the clock.

“The loss of Maple Batalia, a beautiful young woman with a promising life in front of her is a tragedy that cannot be measured in the community,” Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, in charge of the Surrey RCMP,  said shortly after her death. “For all those who knew and loved her, most especially her loving family, the pain is evident and immeasurable.”

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