Family outraged after Maple Batalia’s killer given temporary release from prison Saturday

Nearly eight years after their daughter’s murder, the family of Maple Batalia is in disbelief after learning her killer was allowed to temporarily leave prison Saturday.

SURREY (NEWS 1130) —  Nearly eight years after their daughter’s murder, the family of Maple Batalia is in disbelief after learning her killer was allowed to temporarily leave prison Saturday.

Maple’s sister Roseleen says she and her parents are registered with the Parole Board of Canada to be notified whenever Gurjinder Dhaliwal makes an application for compassionate release or day release.

Last week, Dhaliwal made a request for compassionate leave to visit a sick grandparent which has been approved by the board, leaving Batalia’s family devastated.

“Yesterday I got a call saying he applied again. They had the information that my family is not supportive of that. The facts have now changed, and the grandparent has passed away. So, they’ve granted him an escorted visit with two correctional officers, he would wear his jail attire, feet and arms tied and be able to go to the viewing but not the public event,” Roseleen says.

Dhaliwal was out for around three-and-a-half hours, escorted by officers the entire time, and could only interact with immediate family members at the private viewing.

Roseleen Batalia calls it an injustice against her younger sister, adding she made it clear to the parole board exactly how her family felt., adding this is an injustice to Maple and her family who continue to grapple with her murder.

“What is the point of us writing these letters if you are going to constantly violate my sister’s rights, and our rights and allow him to do these things when she never had the same rights. For me, it’s still unfair,” she says.

“They said the criteria for them is what is the chance he would re-offend when he’s outside. But why is this about him re-offending? It should be about why should he be able to participate in these things when he took that same right away from another person.”

She also highlights what she calls issues with the process, saying there’s not enough transparency for those involved.

“Yesterday, I didn’t even know that someone had passed away. I thought it was another application because a family member was sick. It’s confusing and unorganized. It feels like our feedback isn’t being taken seriously,” she tells News 1130.

“I’m left at being at the same spot where we were eight years ago. All I can picture is the same brutal, horrible person who took my sister’s life being able to be out in the open air, to have that satisfaction of being able to say bye to a family member that my sister never got.”

With the anniversary coming up, Roseleen Batalia says Dhaliwal’s visit has rehashed painful memories the family has been struggling to cope with.

“Not only are we traumatized that we lost such a beautiful human being, we’re lost at words for the types of rights the offender still has. Jail is supposed to be some sort of punishment. What difference does this make?”

“For me, my family we will keep fighting for more rights to protect victims and their families. Even recently, Bhavkiran Dhesi and her family are going through the same battle. They’ll be stuck in the court system for so long.”

Roseleen Batalia is calling for the government to look at expedited trials when it comes to these types of cases and asking why extra funding can’t be allocated for cases tied to violence against women.

“In B.C. we see high profile cases of women being killed at the hands of someone they know, being delayed and delayed. When will it stop? When are we going to put the example so people think twice before they even think of taking another life like that?”

She also wants to see a speedier process in court when it comes to trials, adding her own sister’s murder trial took more than five years before Dhaliwal was eventually found guilty and sentenced.

“Trials take years on end, stop the delay tactics. Put more funding into crime victim cases, allocate that money where it needs to go and help create laws that are deterrents to people who think they can abuse and kill women. There are more families out there suffering and it needs to stop. It needs to start at the government level.”

In September of 2011, Maple was shot and stabbed to death as she left Surrey’s SFU campus by Dhaliwal, her ex-boyfriend. In 2016, Dhaliwal was sentenced to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 21 years.

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