October 31st, 2020

Sexual-assault suspect fires lawyer


By Shurtz, Delon on August 26, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

lethbridge herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 33-year-old Lethbridge man accused of sexually assaulting several women – one of them three years ago – has fired his lawyer.

Sohil Bindra was scheduled for a bail review Monday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, but instead his lawyer, David Chow of Calgary, said the accused wants a new lawyer and he asked to be removed from the record.

Bindra must now wait for Alberta Legal Aid to appoint him a new lawyer, his third since he was charged in February. He fired his first lawyer in May.

Although Chow told court Monday he had sent an urgent request to Legal Aid to appoint a new lawyer for the accused – a process that can sometimes take several weeks – Bindra asked the judge to intervene on his behalf to speed up the process. Justice Dallas Miller pointed out, however, he could only recommend Legal Aid appoint a lawyer as soon as possible.

Shortly after his closed-circuit appearance in Court of Queen’s Bench, Bindra also appeared in provincial court, ostensibly to schedule a pre-trial conference. That matter was also adjourned while he waits for new counsel.

Police reported in March that an 18-year-old woman was sexually assaulted after attending a bar with a friend on Feb. 7. During the evening the pair met a man, and when the 18-year-old suddenly became unwell, he offered to drive the two friends to their homes. After taking the 18-year-old inside, the man left the residence.

He returned a short time later, however, entered the home and sexually assaulted the woman, police said. She was taken to Chinook Regional Hospital for treatment and released later in the day.

Police searched a suspect’s home and recovered evidence related to the offence, including the victim’s cellphone.

Bindra initially faced a single charge of housebreaking and two counts of sexual assault in relation to one woman, and had been released on bail. However, more charges were added later after five more women came forward and said they had also been sexually assaulted. One of the alleged assaults goes back to July 2017. The accused was taken into custody in March when he attended a court hearing and was subsequently denied bail.

Bindra pleaded not guilty March 12 to 14 charges, which comprise housebreaking and commit sexual assault, sexual assault, administering a noxious substance, drug possession and choking with intent to commit an indictable offence. He also faces an additional charge of failing to comply with release conditions.

The accused’s next appearance in Court of Queen’s Bench is set for Sept. 28. He returns to provincial court on Sept. 21.

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