Four years in jail for fatal Surrey crash
Ravinder Binning nodded and gave a small wave to friends and family as he was led into custody by sheriffs Thursday.
Moments earlier in Surrey Provincial Court, Judge Reg Harris handed a four-year jail sentence to Binning, who last month pleaded guilty to causing the deaths of Bakhshish and Dilbag Badh, seriously injuring their daughter and then fleeing the scene of the deadly crash four years ago.
It was July 2008 when a speeding Binning slammed into the back of the Badhs car, sending it spinning into a power pole near 128 Street and 85 Avenue. Bakhshish, 60, and Dilbag, 61, who were sitting in the back seat, were pronounced dead at the scene. Their daughter Varinder, a passenger in the front seat, was seriously injured and knocked unconscious, while their youngest Rupi Badh suffered less serious physical injuries.
The family had been driving home after an engagement party for Rupi.
In delivering Binning's sentence, which also includes a 10-year driving ban, Judge Harris said Binning not only chose to leave the horrific crash scene where Rupi was screaming, but proceeded to use his cell phone – not to call for help, but to contact his own family and friends.
In court earlier in the week, Binning read a statement that included an apology to the Badh family. But on Thursday, Harris said he didn't buy it.
"It is my view that the offender has not demonstrated genuine remorse," the judge said.
Though he apologized to the Badh family, Harris said Binning spoke primarily about how the incident has impacted him and that he minimized the crash by calling it an "accident" and saying it "could have happened to anyone."
Harris said it was clear to him that the once-productive and happy Badh family was "forced into deep darkness" after the loss of Dilbag and Bakhshish, who he called the "centres" of their family.
"There is no way any sentence could properly reflect how much they were cherished and loved," said the judge.
Though the collision occurred in 2008, Binning was not arrested until 2010, at which time he denied being the driver. However, the court heard his DNA was matched with blood found on an airbag in the abandoned car that struck the Badhs. His house key was also found among the keys left in the ignition.
He did not plead guilty until the end of February of this year, on the day his criminal trial was to begin and nearly four years after the fatal crash. His charges included two counts of dangerous driving causing death, one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident.
For Bakhshish and Dilbag Badh's family, which includes three adult daughters and a son, Binning's sentence wasn't sufficient.
"Justice for my mom and dad was not fulfilled," said Varinder Badh, whose injuries from the crash were so severe she wasn't told of her parents' death until two weeks after.
However, she said, the family understood the judge had to work within the parameters of the legal system.
"My mom and dad didn't deserve this," added Varinder. "They were innocent victims and there has to be change and my family and I will continue to advocate for change in legacy and honour of my mom and dad and all those other faceless victims."
Her brother Raminder wiped tears from his face, unable to express his feelings following Binning's sentencing.
"I'm blank inside," he said.
Additional factors Judge Harris said he considered in his decision were the fact Binning has a Class 1 driver's license and four years experience as a truck driver, he was under bail provisions at the time of the crash in relation to an Ontario incident for which he was later acquitted, and he has a lengthy driving record.
That record includes 16 driving prohibitions, many of them involving alcohol, from between 2002 and 2009. And in
In January he was sentenced in a separate incident just months after the Badhs were killed, on the same stretch of road. Binning was caught driving drunk, sped away from police, then crashed into a fence and attempted to fight an officer before being restrained and arrested. Binning received 16 months probation, a fine and was banned from driving for 18 months in relation to that case.
In the Badh matter, the Crown had asked for a five-year jail sentence and a lifetime driving ban, while defence lawyer Ian Donaldson said a prison term of three years and a three-year driving prohibition was more appropriate.
Harris actually sentenced Binning to four-and-a-half years jail, but gave him double credit for time already spent in custody. His driving ban also begins immediately, despite the fact he'll be behind bars.