The man at the centre of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s troubled trip to India is set to plead not guilty to charges of threatening a radio host.
Jaspal Atwal will appear at Surrey Provincial Court on Thursday morning for his arraignment. He is charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm in connection with an April 23 incident in Surrey, B.C.
Atwal’s lawyer, Marvin Stern, says his client will plead not guilty, and will “vehemently deny” allegations made by the complainant, who hosts a Punjabi radio show.
“Mr. Atwal denies making any threats whatsoever, in order to contest the matter we’ll be going through the system…and then we will fight it at trial,” Stern told Global News.
Atwal’s lawyers will be appearing in court on Friday on his behalf.
Atwal, who was convicted of trying to assassinate an Indian cabinet minister in B.C. in 1986, became a central figure in Trudeau’s visit to India after he was spotted hobnobbing with members of the Canadian government delegation at an event in Mumbai.
Trudeau’s national security adviser, Daniel Jean, advanced the theory that rogue factions in the Indian government had engineered Atwal’s appearance to sabotage Trudeau’s trip.
The controversy prompted Parliament’s national security and intelligence committee to put together a classified report including 18 findings and six recommendations based on a review of allegations of foreign interference in Canadians’ political affairs, risks to the prime minister’s security and inappropriate use of intelligence.
*with a file from Rebecca Joseph