Inderjit Singh Reyat, convict in the 1985 Air India bombing, has lost his appeal of a nine-year jail term for perjury.
Reyat was found guilty of perjuring himself at the trial at which two other men accused in the 1985 bombings – Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri – were acquitted.
He lost his conviction appeal and on Thursday, the BC Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal of the jail term imposed on him in January 2011 by BC Surpreme Court justice Mark McEwan.
The main ground on appeal was that the judge had imposed a sentence that wasn’t comparable to other perjury cases.
But BC Court of Appeal justice Mary Saunders said she saw no error in McEwan’s placement of the offence on the spectrum of perjury cases.
In her 14-page ruling, Saunders said perjury was always a serious offence and even in cases lacking the “massive wrong” at the heart of the Air India trial, courts have imposed significant sentences.
“The perjured testimony went to central events,” she said. “Reyat was involved with the scheme to bomb Air India, was asked by (Talwinder Singh) Parmar to build a bomb, and met Mr. X in relation to this request. It would be speculative to say his evidence would have ended there.”
Reyat also argued that McEwan failed to give proper consideration to his rehabilitation and overemphasised the sentencing principles of denunciation and deterrence.
He also claimed that the judge was wrong to say his remorse and empathy rang “hollow” simply because he declined to expose himself and his family to retribution.
But Saunders rejected that submission.
“This seems to be a continuing rejection of Reyat’s obligation to testify truthfully, and greatly waters down the impact of any statement of remorse in regards to Reyat’s overall participation in the plot that caused the destruction of Air India flight 182.”
The nine-year sentence was the longest sentence for perjury ever in Canada. The offense carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
In May 1991, Reyat was sentenced to 10 years in prison for manslaughter in relation to the bombing in June 1985 that claimed the lives of two baggage handlers at Tokyo’s Narita Airport.
In February 2003, he was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter in connection with the explosion aboard Air India Flight 182.
Reyat admitted that he acquired the materials to help others in the making of explosive devices, but claimed he did not know who made the bomb.