OC Transpo driver had no motive to murder his wife, defence lawyer argues

Closing arguments are being presented in the first-degree murder trial of Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald.

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OC Transpo bus driver Bhupinderpal Gill had no reason to arrange the murder of his wife in January 2014 because his extramarital affair with fellow bus driver Gurpreet Ronald was over by then, his lawyer contends.

“Nobody kills for platonic relationships,” defence lawyer James Harbic told Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne London-Weinstein in his closing argument Thursday.

Gill said the sexual relationship between Gill and Ronald ended in the fall of 2013 and he argued that the Crown had not presented any evidence to prove otherwise.

“There’s no reason for Mr. Gill to kill his wife, no reason at all,” Harbic said. “It just doesn’t make sense that he would want to kill her.”

The lack of motive in the case is problematic, he said, adding: “This case is speckled with reasonable doubt.”

Evidence from the months-long trial showed, Harbic said, that Ronald was involved in an affair with another OC Transpo employee when Gill’s wife, Jagtar Gill, 43 was beaten and stabbed to death in the family room of her Barrhaven home on Jan. 29, 2014.


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Both Gill and Ronald have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.

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The Crown alleges that Gill and Ronald were involved in an illicit love affair and planned the murder so they could be together.

Harbic, however, said none of the seized text messages, wiretapped phone conversations or police surveillance in the case supported the Crown’s theory that Gill and Ronald were still romantically involved when Jagtar was murdered.

He pointed to Ronald as the individual responsible for the slaying and suggested she acted alone in a sudden “homicidal rage” that flowed from the emotional turmoil of her own disintegrating marriage.

A text message to her estranged husband showed she threatened suicide on Dec. 29, 2013.

Ronald has testified that she visited the Gill home on Jan. 29 to retrieve some tools and found Jagtar lying in a pool of blood in the family room.

Harbic noted that Jagtar was struck more than 30 times with a metal bar and slashed 20 times with a knife. “That’s consistent with someone going ballistic: That’s a lot of adrenaline,” he told court Thursday. “That’s not a cold, calculated first-degree murder. That’s chaos.”

Harbic argued that such a scenario was consistent with what the court had heard about Ronald’s volatile temper. Her former husband, Jason Ronald, testified that she came at him with a knife on three separate occasions.

Harbic speculated that Jagtar Gill said something to “set off” Ronald and trigger the deadly attack.


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Jagtar, a doting mother of three, was convalescing from abdominal surgery at the time of her slaying.

Crown attorney Jason Neubaeur has told court that Gill’s agreed-upon role was to ensure his wife was alone so Ronald could carry out the attack. On the day of the crime, he said, the Gills’ two youngest children went to school, while their eldest daughter, Dilpreet, 15, stayed home to study.

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Just before 11 a.m., Gill asked his daughter to join him as he ran some errands. Gill and Dilpreet were out for about two hours before they returned. Dilpreet and a nephew went inside and discovered Jagtar lying dead on the carpet, covered in blood.

Court has heard that, before police arrived, Gill picked up two bloodstained knives and put them in the kitchen sink. He also retrieved a bloodstained weightlifting bar and hid it in the basement with holiday decorations.

Harbic told court that his client panicked after seeing his wife’s brutalized body in the living room of their home and picked up the knives to “get them out of harm’s way.” He thought a burglar might still be inside, Harbic said, and armed himself with the bar to check upstairs, where the family kept a safe with cash and gold jewelry, then downstairs.

When he found no intruder, Harbic said, Gill suffered a “brain freeze” and stowed the bar in his basement.

Gill compounded his “erroneous, stupid, spontaneous gesture,” Harbic said, by later attempting to dispose of the bar, which he believed could wrongly implicate him in his wife’s murder.

The crime, Harbic argued, showed no signs of planning. “I can’t see any part of the plan that makes sense — at least on these facts,” he told court.

Ronald’s defence lawyer, Michael Spratt, is expected to make his final argument Friday.

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