Calgary man sentenced to 90 days for beating niece over marriage refusal

Gurbachan Bandesha, Jasvir Sidhu, Kamaldip Bandesha and Balsher Bandesha leave court in downtown Calgary.



CALGARY -- Beating his niece for refusing to marry the man of his choice has landed a Calgary man a 90-day jail term.

But the three adult children of Gurbachan Bandesha were spared a similar fate Friday, as Justice Marsha Erb granted them conditional discharges.

The discharges, which will mean no criminal records for Kamaldip and Balsher Bandesha and their sister, Jasvir Sidhu, will be conditional on them completing 18 months of probation.

Erb said all four offenders, who were found guilty of assault causing bodily harm to Ramandeep Singh, must undergo gender equality counselling as part of their probationary terms.

Erb was particularly critical of Gurbachan Bandesha, who took on a patriarchal role towards his niece after she emigrated from their native India.

The Court of Queen's Bench judge said he uncle acted as an "overlord" over his adult niece.

"It is inconsistent with Canadian values of ... gender equality," Erb said.

"The offence was motivated by a desire to usurp the victim's autonomy," she said.

"In this community, violence is never an option."

Erb said the uncle's conduct was made worse by the fact he is looked upon as a leader in Calgary's Sikh community.

"It is exceedingly disturbing to this court that you would treat a member of your own family, or anyone else, so violently and so completely disrespectfully," Erb said.

"You drew your own offspring into this nasty series of events just to get your own way."

The uncle was living with the victim and when his three children were visiting he got into a dispute with the her over her refusal to marry the man of his choice.

The woman -- who has since married another man -- was then kicked, punched and had a large chunk of hair pulled from her head in the January, 2010 assault.

Erb ordered the uncle to serve probation, during which he will have to undergo gender equality counselling.

The judge said all four will have to return to court before her and explain what they've learned.

The training for the uncle should "replace whatever skewed notion you might harbour about the role of women and gender issues," the judge said.

All four have been prohibited from contacting their victim during their probation.

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