Reckless Driver Who Killed Indo-Canadian Senior Gets One Year Jail

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Victim’s Family Says Justice Not Served

Gurjit Dhillon of Surrey lost control of a Corvette and drove into 83-year-old Pritam Benning  in Surrey in 2009. Dhillon was sentenced to one year in prison and given a five-year driving ban by a provincial court judge on Wednesday.

SURREY – The Indo-Canadian man who killed a senior from his community received a one year jail sentence Wednesday for his reckless driving causing accident and death but the family of the elderly victim is not satisfied, saying justice was not served.

Surrey grandfather Pritam Benning, 83, was critically injured by Gurjit Dhillon in the rush hour crash in September 2009. Benning was waiting at a transit stop near 128 Street and 72 Avenue when a black Corvette driven by Gurjit Dhillon jumped the curb and struck him. Benning’s legs were amputated and he was unconscious in hospital for five days before passing away.

Outside court, Benning’s family said Dhillon’s 12-month sentence was insufficient for taking their family patriarch’s life. Son Manjit Benning said his father came to Canada thinking it was a better country, reported the Surrey Leader.

“I’m wondering if he’d be thinking that right now?” said Manjit. “It’s just senseless.”

Dhillon, 28, was found guilty of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death last November. A charge of street racing was dropped.

The defence argued the brake system on Dhillon’s car was faulty, but the judge didn’t buy that theory, saying the car lost control before the brakes were applied.

Judge James Jardine reiterated his findings Wednesday, saying Dhillon’s risky actions were solely to blame for the fatal crash, not the workings of the vehicle.

“You need to come to grips with those stark facts,” Jardine told Dhillon, adding “wishful thinking” would not help him find the courage to move on.

Dhillon was following a yellow Corvette on Sept. 16, 2009 when the two cars came to a stop at the intersection. When the light turned green, Dhillon accelerated abruptly, tried to change lanes and hit another car before spinning out of control and launching toward Benning.

Dhillon called 911, telling the operator “I hit a person. Something happened to my car. It just went out of control.”

The Crown had asked for a two-and-a-half year prison sentence, while the defence argued a suspended sentence was sufficient as Dhillon has no previous criminal record. The court heard Dhillon has been severely depressed since the crash and suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dhillon, whose wife is expecting their first child in July, has a tattoo with Benning’s name and the date of the crash on his forearm, with the words “The day everything changed.”

His wife cried upon hearing the sentence, as did his mother, who nearly collapsed exiting the courtroom.

Dhillon is also banned from driving for five years.

Courtesy The Surrey Leader