Trial for man who ran down an 83-year-old resumes in Surrey

A trial for a young man who crashed his car into a Surrey bus shelter three years ago resumed on Monday.

The crash fatally injured 83-year-old Pritam Benning.

The driver faces a charge of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death.

Gurjit Dhillon has gone in and out of court every day of his trial.

He never speaks to the media or to surviving family members, and now he has decided against taking the stand in his own defence.

“Ultimately it is his choice whether or not he testifies. There’s not much more that we can say about that,” defence lawyer Marvin Stern told Global News.

Three years ago, Benning was sitting at a Surrey bus stop when an out of control corvette slammed into him.

He died five days later.

Gurjit Dhillon was driving his brother’s corvette.

Witnesses saw two corvettes that night, revving engines and communicating, but street racing charges were dropped and the court is proceeding with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death.

Today, defence argued there is reasonable doubt to even that.

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“It is a very tragic incident that happened, there is no question about that what-so-ever,” says Stern. “We are viewing this as a motor vehicle accident as opposed to a crime.”

Defence argues there is reason to believe the automatic braking system in the corvette might have been to blame and that witness accounts are conflicting and unreliable, in part because it took 35 months to get the case to trial.

“The charges weren’t sworn for a long time after the incident before went into the court system,” says Stern.

“Part of the delay was because Dhillon changed his lawyer, which we don’t hear about,” says victim’s son Manjit Benning.

Defence did not call any witnesses.

The judge will hand down his sentence November 30, and there may be much at stake.

There are reports the accused driver may not be a Canadian citizen.

Dhillon’s lawyer says he is not involved in any immigration issues on his client’s behalf, but says the trial involves an indictable offense.

“If someone who is not a citizen is convicted of an indictable offense, it may be subject to deportation,” says Stern.

“There’s got to be some responsibility for his actions, because otherwise what’s the deterrent?” says Manjit Benning. “We just don’t want our dad to have died in vain.”