May 21st, 2024

Pregnancy to keep woman from attending hearing in-person

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 4, 2021.


An Edmonton woman who was caught with her husband smuggling drugs over the border four years ago will not have to travel to Lethbridge for her sentencing hearing next month.
Kirandeep Toor, who was scheduled to be sentenced last month along with her husband Gurminder, will be allowed to attend their hearing by closed-circuit TV from an Edmonton courthouse, so she doesn’t have to travel while she is pregnant.
Her physician testified Friday in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, that Kirandeep is vomiting and suffering from nausea, anxiety and lower back pain, and shouldn’t travel any significant distance. She recommended Kirandeep not travel at least until after her first trimester, which isn’t until February.
“At this point it is not a good idea,” she told the judge.
The couple was initially to be sentenced Oct. 29 after they were found guilty in April of drug smuggling, but the hearing was adjourned to allow more time for lawyers to review a pre-sentence report that arrived late. Then last week in Lethbridge Court of Queen’s Bench, the sentencing hearing was adjourned again after the judge was told Kirandeep was pregnant and can’t travel.
Crown Prosecutor Kent Brown referred to a letter from Kirandeep’s doctor stating Kirandeep should not travel in a car from Edmonton between Nov. 24 and Feb. 1, 2022. However, Brown expressed some concern with the letter, which he suggested was little more than a note, and recommended the doctor be required to testify in court.
Following the doctor’s evidence, the sentencing hearing was adjourned to Jan. 6.
Gurminder was found guilty of drug smuggling and drug possession for the purpose of trafficking following a week-long trial in April. Kirandeep was also found guilty of drug smuggling but not guilty of drug possession for the purpose. She was, instead, found guilty of the lesser and included offence of simple drug possession.
The Toors were transporting produce from California to Airdrie, Alta., and testified they were surprised when border officers found 84 bricks of cocaine hidden inside their commercial truck after they arrived at the Coutts border Dec. 2, 2017.
The drugs were worth about $5 million if sold by the kilogram, and even more if broken down for sale on the street.
Border officers discovered the cocaine in the truck’s sleeper, where the drugs were stashed in and behind a microwave oven, in a drawer, under a blanket on the bottom bunk bed, and under a mattress on the upper bunk. Yet the accused said they had no idea there were drugs in the truck.
Calgary lawyer Patrick Fagan argued the Crown failed to prove Kirandeep knew there was cocaine in the tractor-trailer, and never should have been charged. And Gurminder’s Calgary lawyer, Greg Dunn, said it’s not unreasonable to believe his client didn’t notice the drugs in the sleeper of the truck.
Brown said, however, the one-kilogram bricks of cocaine were not well hidden, and they would have been concealed better if someone else put the drugs in the truck and didn’t want the Toors to find them.

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