By Delon Shurtz on September 15, 2021.
Two men arrested following a police drug investigation in 2020 have received sentences that will not require them to spend any time in jail.
Sumrath Singh Bindra and Adjit Singh Kahlon pleaded guilty last week in Lethbridge provincial court to a single count of possession of the proceeds of crime not exceeding $5,000. Kahlon received a 12-month suspended sentence and probation, while Bindra was handed a conditional discharge and 18 months probation.
Court was told that during a police investigation in June of last year officers began “covert surveillance” of the driver of a 2019 Dodge Ram truck. In August police saw the truck parked near a hotel along 43 Street south and watched two men and a woman leave the hotel and climb into the truck. Police followed the vehicle and saw it make several brief stops throughout the city as the occupants met with various individuals.
Police stopped the vehicle on the westside and arrested Kahlon and Bindra, and during a search of the truck found nearly $5,000 in cash. A search later in the day at a hotel room netted police another $500.
“Mr. Bindra and Mr. Kahlon admit that they were in personal or joint possession of the seized cash, and that this cash was derived from the commission of an offence in Canada,” federal Crown Prosecutor Mark Klassen told court.
While Calgary lawyer Daniel Song agreed with a Crown recommendation for a suspended sentence, Calgary lawyer Kristofer Advent opposed the recommendation, and said a conditional discharge would be appropriate for his younger client, Bindra, who made a mistake and has already felt the sting of his actions.
Advent said Bindra had turned 18 only a couple of months before the incident, but has since taken steps to turn his life around and rehabilitate himself. He said his client’s actions were “out of character for him,” and he plans to enroll in law school, although that has temporarily been derailed because of the criminal charges against him.
Advent said Bindra’s family has also been impacted by media reports on the incident, and Bindra lost his job and continues to struggle from the consequences of his poor decision.
“He clearly made a very bad mistake.”
Bindra, who attended court in person with his father, apologized and said he is ashamed of what he did, but added his family has helped him turn his life around. He volunteers at a seniors’ home in Edmonton and he regularly attends his local temple. He also learned a valuable lesson, he told the judge.
“I have to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.”
As part of their sentences, Bindra and Kahlon must complete 25 hours of community service and receive counseling as directed by their probation officers. They are also prohibited from having any contact with each other.
Additional charges of drug possession for the purpose of trafficking were withdrawn.
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