: Illness saves ‘serial’ traffic offender

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He has 61 driving offences in the last three decades. which included leaving the scene of an accident, driving while he was prohibited and numerous charges of impaired driving.

Yet, Balwinder Kumar Saggu, 64, was sentenced to “just” 15 months in prison for a hit-and-run crash two years ago that killed a 16-year-old kid – at a time when Saggu was under a driving prohibition.

The reason the judge gave for the relatively light sentence was that Saggu suffers from a range of health problems, including diabetes, a seizure disorder, hypoglycemia and anaemia.

Ken Dhillon, father of victim Kevin Dhillon, told local media he was “speechless” following the sentencing of Saggu.

“I feel like I’ve been disappointed like crazy by the justice system,” Ken Dhillon said Thursday, following sentencing in provincial court in Surrey for Saggu. “Justice delayed is justice denied — it’s been two years. I didn’t expect much, but I didn’t expect this either.”

Saggu, 64, pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to stop at the scene of an accident.

At about 10:45 p.m. on June 24, 2014, Dhillon was riding a motorcycle on 96 Avenue at 123A Street when a Honda Accord driven by Saggu turned left in front of him. Dhillon hit the rear passenger side of the car and was thrown from his motorcycle. He died a short time later.

Saggu continued driving on 123A Street for a short distance even after hitting Dhillon, pursued by Dhillon’s cousin and friend, who had been following Dhillon as he drove.

Saggu pulled over and came “stumbling and tumbling” out of the driver’s seat, court had heard. They asked if he had been drinking and he said he had not. Dhillon’s cousin and friend then went back to help Dhillon, and Saggu walked from the scene.

The next day Saggu called police to report the Honda stolen. The car was not insured and had been given to Saggu by a friend to be repaired. On June 25, 2014, Saggu was arrested. He confessed that he had left the scene and filed a false police report.

Judge Jennifer Oulton said Saggu failed in his moral and legal duty as a driver, citizen and human being to stay and offer assistance to the victim and police, calling his decision “callous.”

“Mr. Saggu’s actions prevented a complete investigation at the time, and left important unanswered questions,” Oulton said.

The Crown had asked for a 12- to 18-month jail sentence and a lifetime driving prohibition.

Oulton said if Saggu was healthy, she would impose an 18-month jail sentence. Instead, she sentenced him to 15 months in jail, subtracting three months in recognition that a jail sentence will be more difficult for him because of his illnesses. He is also subject to a lifetime driving prohibition.

Ken Dhillon said the sentence sends the message that if people avoid responsibility for a crash by leaving the scene, they’ll get a lighter sentence than if they stay.

“It’s a young, innocent kid that was killed by this guy that has a long criminal history, and he gets away with 15 months,” he said. “For them, it’s just an accident. For me, I’ve lost my son.”