Air India bomb-maker convicted of perjury

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Vancouver (Canada), Sept.19 (ANI): Indian Canadian Interjit Singh Reyat, the only man to have served time for the deaths of 331 people in the June 1985 Air India bombings has been found guilty of perjury.

It is likely that he will face more time in prison.

The always stoic Inderjit Singh Reyat showed little emotion as the verdict was read after jurors deliberated for more than 20 hours. He was ordered into custody.

According to the Globe and Mail, Reyat's lawyer, Ian Donaldson, had argued that his client should remain out of custody to prepare for the two-day hearing starting November 17, saying that neither he nor the Crown had found a case of any Canadian convicted of perjury being detained pending sentencing.

Donaldson said Reyat had "complied impeccably" with his bail conditions since being released from custody in July 2008.

"In two-plus years, there has been no suggestion or hint of any breach at all," he said. While Mr. Reyat lived with his family, police visited him regularly and he attended religious services while awaiting his trial, Donaldson said.

But B.C. Supreme Court Judge Mark McEwan ruled Reyat would be immediately taken into custody.

"My view of it is that Mr. Reyat has been convicted by a jury of a very serious charge," Judge McEwan said.

"(That) persuades me that the administration of justice is best protected and the reputation of the legal system itself is protected by . . . Mr. Reyat being remanded in custody before the sentencing for which he is presently scheduled."

Mr. Reyat was accused by the Crown of lying repeatedly at the 2003 trial of Ajaib Singh Bagri and Ripudaman Singh Malik, who were charged with mass murder in the bombings. They were acquitted and Mr. Reyat was charged with perjury in 2006.

The indictment against Mr. Reyat lists 19 instances when he lied during his testimony, but the judge at his perjury trial told jurors they needed to be convinced he lied only once and that the entire jury did not have to agree on when.

Mr. Reyat didn't flinch as a sheriff took him into custody. His son, Didar Reyat, who accompanied him to court for the week-long trial, walked out of the courtroom before his father was taken away.

The maximum sentence for perjury is 14 years. (ANI)

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