June 16th, 2024

Deportation hearing set for truck driver in deadly Saskatchewan hockey team bus crash

By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press on April 8, 2024.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu walks into the Kerry Vickar Centre for his sentencing in Melfort, Sask., on March 22, 2019. A deportation hearing for Sidhu, the truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash six years ago, has been scheduled for next month.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis

CALGARY – A deportation hearing for the truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash six years ago has been scheduled for next month.

Lawyer Michael Greene said Monday the hearing for his client Jaskirat Singh Sidhu is to be held May 24.

“It was an inevitability. I mean, the (immigration) minister could always decide not to go ahead with it, but it doesn’t seem to be happening at this point anyway,” Greene said in an interview.

“There’s nothing to contest. You’re convicted or you’re not. All they have to establish is he’s not a citizen and that he was convicted.”

Sidhu was sentenced to eight years in prison for causing the 2018 crash in Saskatchewan that killed 16 people and injured 13 others. He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving charges.

The rookie Calgary trucker, a newly married permanent resident from India, barrelled through a stop sign at a rural intersection near Tisdale, Sask., and drove into the path of the bus carrying the junior hockey team to a playoff game.

Sidhu was granted full parole last year.

In December, the Federal Court dismissed applications from Sidhu’s lawyer, who argued Canada Border Services officials didn’t consider Sidhu’s previously clean criminal record and remorse. He had asked for the agency to be ordered to conduct a second review.

Greene said the deportation hearings usually only take a few minutes. After that happens, he said the real work begins.

“Once he ceases to be a permanent resident then he can file an application on humanitarian grounds. Our goal is to do that fairly quickly,” Greene said.

“How long it takes after that is the great unknown. It could be months. It could be years.”

Greene said once a person is ordered deported, there is then a pre-removal risk assessment conducted and that usually takes a few months. He said Sidhu can also ask for a deferral while his request for permanent resident status is considered.

“The wheels of justice move slowly at times. It’s been playing out over six years now,” Greene said.

“We’re cautiously optimistic. You can’t erase the fact of the conviction and damage done.

“But everything else about him is positive and there’s a lot of community support, although there are some people who can’t and will never forgive.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 8, 2024.

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