Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Man Acquitted in Air India Case Won't Get $9.2 Million in Costs Reimbursed:judge

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Man Acquitted in Air India Case Won't Get $9.2 Million in Costs Reimbursed:judge

Article excerpt

Man acquitted in Air India won't get money


VANCOUVER - A man acquitted in the Air India terrorist bombing trial won't be getting back $9.2 million in legal fees after a British Columbia judge rejected his claims for compensation.

Ripudaman Singh Malik said the length and complexity of the trial, the number of lawyers he had to hire and weak evidence from a Crown witness warranted a judicial review of his case.

He claimed the Crown knew, or ought to have known, that a central witness against him was not credible and that perhaps due to severe public pressure, prosecutors turned a blind eye to the obvious frailties of the woman's evidence.

Malik's lawyer, Bruce McLeod, argued before B.C. Supreme Court Justice Ian Josephson in May that the case fell markedly short of the criminal standard.

But Josephson, who presided at the Air India trial in 2003 and 2004, disagreed with Malik's claims.

"There is no suggestion of wilful misconduct on the part of the Crown," he wrote in a ruling issued Thursday.

Malik and his co-accused, Ajaib Singh Bagri, were acquitted in 2005 of mass murder and conspiracy charges related to a pair of 1985 Air India bombings that killed 331 people, mostly from the Toronto and Vancouver areas.

"While this court found at the conclusion of the trial that the Crown had fallen markedly short of the burden of proof required, I find that the applicant has also fallen markedly short of the burden required of him in this application," Josephson said.

"The acquittal of the applicant was just that, it was not a declaration of innocence."

Malik also said he spent four years in custody before being found not guilty and that the Crown conceded there was unacceptable negligence in the destruction of surveillance tapes by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

The erasure of the tapes was inadvertent and there is no evidence that it prejudiced the defence, Josephson said. …

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