Maple Batalia‘s family is voicing their outrage that her murderer was granted an escorted leave from prison just a week before the eight-year anniversary of her killing.
Batalia, 19, was gunned down by her ex-boyfriend Gurjinder Dhaliwal after a late-night study session at Simon Fraser University’s Surrey campus on Sept. 28, 2011.
Her sister, Roseleen, told Global News that she was informed Friday that Dhaliwal would be granted a three-and-a-half-hour escorted pass to view the body of a dead grandparent on Saturday.
Global News was not able to contact the Parole Board of Canada on Saturday, but a voicemail from the agency provided by the Batalia family indicated Dhaliwal would be escorted, in shackles and prison garb, by two Correctional Service of Canada guards. He was to be permitted to view the remains privately, but not attend the funeral.
“My mom’s mom passed away two years ago. My sister didn’t get to see it,” said Roseleen.
“She hasn’t been part of any of our life events. So when the parole board asks our opinion, it doesn’t seem that they care enough to keep taking the trauma that causes our family into consideration.“
WATCH: Maple Batalia’s family discusses how her relationship with boyfriend deteriorated
Roseleen said her family was notified earlier in the week that Dhaliwal had made an application for a pass when his grandparent was ill, which the family opposed in writing.
That pass was denied, but when the grandparent died he made a second application, which was granted, she said.
“So him being in jail and allowed to be participating in these life events is basically taking away our rights and contradicting what he did to my sister,” she said.
“I feel these are archaic laws that protect criminals and overlook the rights of the families.“
WATCH: Extended interview: The message Maple Batalia’s mother wants everyone to hear
Roseleen said with the election campaign in full swing, she wants to see women’s and victims’ rights — which she said the criminal justice system is ill-equipped to represent — front and centre.
“How do you expect to move on when you’re constantly reminded that the person responsible for your family member’s death is allowed these privileges?” she asked.
“I really want to hear from the public. Like, how do you guys feel about this? Do you want offenders that are out there, who have been charged with such violent crimes against women, being allowed to participate in their family’s lives — whether it’s deaths, or happy moments, or whatever you want to call it?”
Dhaliwal was initially charged with first-degree murder, but later pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 21 years.
Gursimar Bedi, who took a vehicle involved in the murder through a car wash, was found not-guilty of manslaughter.
He was convicted of being an accessory after the fact to the killing, and sentenced to 18 months in jail.