Friday, October 06, 2006

Air India acquittals 'worse' than bombing, witness says

Vancouver: A North Vancouver woman who sat through much of the Air India trial told the judicial inquiry into the terrorist attack Wednesday that she watched supporters of the accused attempt to intimidate a witness.
Perviz Madon, who lost her husband Sam in the Air India bombing, said she tried to attend as much of the 19-month trial as possible to support Crown witnesses who she said risked a lot to testify.
''There were times when we felt intimidated,'' Madon said of the scene in the public gallery.
She said she watched former Vancouver lawyer Kuldip Chaggar sit in full view of one of the main Crown witnesses ''and make all kinds of faces at her.''
Chaggar, who once represented convicted terrorist Inderjit Singh Reyat, has since been convicted in the U.S. of witness intimidation in an unrelated case.
The intimidation was just one problem Madon said she saw with the judicial process that led to the acquittals last year of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri.
''The day of the verdict was actually worse than the day that the accident happened. It totally shattered us. We lost faith in the justice system,'' Madon told former Supreme Court judge John Major, who is inquiry commissioner.
05/10/06 Kim Bolan/CanWest News Service/ Vancouver Sun/