'Kanishka' bomber appeals perjury conviction



Toronto: The lone convicted in the bombing of the Air India flight 'Kanishka' that killed 329 people in 1985 has filed an appeal in Canada's Supreme Court asking it to overturn his perjury conviction, believed to be the longest perjury sentence in Canadian history.

Inderjit Singh Reyat, who himself pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the bombing, was convicted of perjury in September 2010 and later sentenced to nine years in prison, The Globe and Mail reported on Tuesday.

Reyat filed the appeal yesterday.

He was accused of lying 19 times during the 2003 trial of Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajaib Singh Bagri, who were acquitted of mass murder and conspiracy in the bombing of the flight on June 23, 1985.

The bombing off the coast of Ireland was the largest mass murder in Canadian history with 329 people, mostly Canadian citizens, killed. Another blast at an airport in Tokyo killed two baggage handlers.

Canadian prosecutors maintain the bombing was a part of conspiracy to take revenge for the 1984 'Operation Blue Star' by Indian security forces in Golden Temple at Amritsar to flush out Sikh militants.

Reyat fought his perjury conviction at the British Columbia Court of Appeal, but that case was rejected in July. Reyat is now asking the country's apex court to hear the case.

A notice of application, filed on September 27, repeats Reyat's argument that the judge made a mistake in his instructions to the jury.

Reyat's lawyer has argued the judge was wrong to tell the members of the jury they didn't have to agree on which specific lie Reyat told, as long as they each agreed that he lied during the trial.

"The necessary elements or ingredients for the offence of perjury are entirely consistent among the 19 particulars to the indictment, and there was evidence on which the jury could have found each to have been proven," the court had said in its decision in July 19.

It's not clear when the Supreme Court of Canada will decide whether it will hear the case, or if it does, when the case might proceed, the report said.

Neither Reyat's lawyer nor the BC prosecutor in the case could be reached for comment.

PTI