10-year jail for Indian-Canadian drug dealer

October 25th, 2008 - 11:53 am ICT by IANS  

Vancouver, Oct 25 (IANS) A top court here has sentenced an Indian-origin drug dealer to a 10-year jail term for shooting an addict for not paying his drug dues.The British Columbia provincial supreme court here handed down the sentence to 22-year-old Jaspal Singh Thiara Thursday for shooting and seriously injuring a man identified as “Mr. Hall” three years ago for failing to recover his drug dues.

Delivering the verdict, the court said Thiara went with a weapon to meet his victim in a crack house in Surrey near here in December 2005.

His aim, the court said, was to shoot “Mr. Hall” and scare others who owed him drug money.

Shooting Hall twice, Thiara pressed his weapon to his victim’s head even as he pleaded for mercy, the verdict said. The court said that though Thiara’s victim survived, he suffered grievous physical and emotional scars.

Thiara’s crime, the court said, was premeditated. “The jury was satisfied that Mr. Thiara intended to kill Mr. Hall. It is only luck that saved Mr. Hall, and saves Mr. Thiara from a life sentence,” the verdict read.

Considering his young age and remorse for the crime, the court said it was sentencing him to only 10 years in jail to offer him a chance to rehabilitate himself later.

Like many other young Indian-Canadian men, Thiara too took to the drug trade in his early teens. He reportedly built a big client base and made up to $3,000 a day before the crime.

The drug trade has often led to bloody gang wars between rivals here.

Since the mid-1990s, more than young 100 Indian-Canadian men have been killed in these turf wars in the Vancouver area.

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