June 25th, 2024

Perpetrator in sexual assaults to be sentenced in February

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on December 17, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who was found guilty of sexually assaulting three women several years ago, won’t be sentenced until early in the new year.

Judge Jerry LeGrandeur is expected to sentence Sohil Bindra on Feb. 6, 2023, nearly a year after he was found guilty of numerous sex-related offences. The sentencing date had been discussed previously, but it was confirmed Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, where duty counsel appeared on behalf of Bindra’s lawyer, Alain Hepner of Calgary.

The Crown has recommended Bindra be sentenced to 18 years in a federal prison, while Hepner has asked the judge to send his 36-year-old client to a federal penitentiary for nine years.

Hepner said during a sentencing hearing earlier this month that 18 years would be a “crushing” sentence. He reminded LeGrandeur that Bindra is a first time offender, and suggested the sentence recommended by the Crown is “significantly more than it should be.”

During his trial in November and December of last year, one of the women testified Bindra assaulted her in his vehicle in the spring of 2018. He was found guilty of sexual assault and administering a noxious substance in relation to the assault against the woman.

Another woman testified Bindra sexually assaulted her after he gave her and a friend a ride home from a bar in February of 2020. He was found guilty of housebreaking and commit sexual assault, sexual assault and administering a noxious substance in relation to that woman.

A third woman told court during the trial that she was too drunk to drive home to Taber following a work Christmas party in December of 2018, and was sexually assaulted after Bindra allowed her to stay the night at his westside home. Although he said she was coming onto him, she testified she did not consent and told him no. He was found guilty of administering a noxious substance and sexual assault.

Bindra, who was also found guilty of possessing cocaine and the substance he used to drug the women, denied the assault allegations and testified during his trial that the liaisons with the women were consensual.

Crown Prosecutor Adam Zelmer pointed out at the sentencing hearing Dec. 5, that if the amount of jail time warranted for each offence was added together, Bindra’s sentence could be more than 30 years. However, after taking into account the principles of proportionality and totality, the amount is reduced so as not to be overly harsh.

Zelmer noted that the offences in relation to one of the women alone warrant a sentence up to 15 years if they were to run consecutively with the other offences.

Bindra is set to stand trial next spring and summer in relation to sexual assaults against two other women. He is charged with sexual assault, choking with intent, assault and administering a drug, in relation to one of the women and is set to stand trial on those charges July 31-Aug. 4, 2023. He is scheduled to stand trial April 18-20 in relation to the other woman.

He also faces one additional and more recent charge of sexual assault, which relates to an offence in August 2017 against a sixth woman.

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