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Lack of Evidence Led to Air-India Deal
By ROBERT MATAS
The Globe and Mail, Vancouver, B.C., Feb. 12, 2003
"Crown prosecutors in the sensational Air-India bombing case initiated the negotiations to drop charges of first-degree murder against Inderjit Singh Reyat based on a lack of evidence to show his involvement in the crime. Government and defence lawyers spent about 1½ weeks negotiating the deal, Mr. Reyat's lawyer David Gibbons said. At one point during discussions, a jail sentence of only three years was proposed for Mr. Reyat, said another source familiar with the talks. However, government negotiators balked at such a short sentence and pushed for Mr. Reyat to spend more time in jail. Mr. Reyat accepted the deal on the basis that he would admit no greater involvement in the Air-India bombing than he had done more than a decade ago. The prosecution's offer of a deal came in the midst of pretrial motions. A publication ban prohibits the news media from reporting the issues before the court at that time."
"At the Hindustan Times Web site, at hindustantimes.com, a correspondent named Marty Beets from New Zealand wrote that the sentence should reflect the nature of the crime. 'I would not ever expect this person to be a free man; he gave up that right the moment he started to even think to make a bomb,' he said."
"However, the deal has been welcomed by some people in the Indo-Canadian community who believe those responsible for the Air-India bombing have not been arrested."