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Maple the ‘glue’ in Batalia family: dad

By Eric MacKenzie

Maple Batalia’s ex-boyfriend and killer will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2033.
THE ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Maple Batalia’s ex-boyfriend and killer will serve a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2033. THE ROCK PHOTOGRAPHY

Maple Batalia’s ex-boyfriend was given a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2033 on Monday after an overflowing New Westminster courtroom heard how he killed a girl “filled with love, laughter and life.”

Gurjinder “Gary” Dhaliwal, who pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of Batalia last week, was handed the sentence that both the Crown and defence had requested in a joint submission. Since the sentence applies from the time of his 2012 arrest, Dhaliwal is ineligible for parole until 2033.

Before delivering his decision, Justice Terence Schultes said “simply reading the facts (said) everything” about the case, adding that Batalia’s death amounted to “a level of loss that can’t be put into words.”

According to an agreed statement of facts read Thursday, Dhaliwal shot Batalia multiple times in a parkade at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus and slashed the 19-year-old in the head with a knife on Sept. 28, 2011. Batalia — who Dhaliwal followed in the days leading up to the murder — had ended their on-and-off, four-year relationship after discovering Dhaliwal had been unfaithful.

Prior to sentencing, the court heard victim impact statements from 10 of Batalia’s friends and family members, which drew emotional reactions over the course of 45 minutes from approximately 100 people viewing the proceedings.

Sarbjit Batalia, the victim’s mother, spoke last and was overcome by grief. The majority of her statement was delivered in Punjabi and translated for the court, but she at one point turned to face Dhaliwal directly and shouted, in English, “Why did you kill my daughter? Give me an answer.”

Maple’s father, Harkirat Batalia read his statement first, noting that Maple would have celebrated her 24th birthday on Friday. He lamented the fact that his daughter — an aspiring doctor, actress and model — “had so many dreams she could not fulfill.”

“She was the baby of the family,” he said, “but also the glue that held us together.”

In a short address to the court Monday, the 24-year-old Dhaliwal apologized to both the Batalia family and his own.

“I know I did a terrible thing,” said Dhaliwal.