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Metro Vancouver gangster sentenced for role in Chilliwack assault

Manjit (Mike) Adiwal - PNG files
Manjit (Mike) Adiwal
— image credit: PNG files

By Kim Bolan/Vancouver Sun

A high-profile Metro gangster has been sentenced to four months in jail for his role in a May 2011 assault at a Chilliwack lumber mill.

Manjit (Mike) Adiwal pleaded guilty last fall to assault for punching a man with whom Adiwal's associate had a dispute.

The associate, Preetpal Sangha, was also sentenced to four months after pleading guilty to uttering death threats during the same incident.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice William Grist said in his reasons for sentencing that the origins of the dispute are unclear, but it culminated with the threats and assault of Gurpreet Sangha, who owned a lumber mill along with Preetpal's father and others.

"The Crown suggested [the dispute] had to do with an argument between the partners; the mill appears to have been failing financially. The Crown says that Mr. Preetpal Sangha joined in on his father's behalf in confronting the complainant," Grist said in a May 9 oral ruling that was released Tuesday.

He noted that Preetpal Sangha's "version was that Mr. Gurpreet Sangha was planning to use part of the mill property as a grow-op which the accused felt threatened his father's investment."

"However the dispute arose, from about April 1, 2011, there were several angry confrontations between the accused Preetpal Sangha and the complainant Gurpreet Sangha. This developed into demands by the accused that the complainant pay certain sums of money," Grist said.

Gurpreet Sangha contacted the RCMP "who reviewed the history of the text messages between the two" and later "began an undercover investigation."

The victim and Preetpal Sangha arranged to meet on May 9, 2011. Preetpal brought along Adiwal and several others.

"Mr. Adiwal is a person who has had, and was known to have, a history of gang involvement with other Indo-Canadian youth in South Vancouver," Grist said.

The judge said the victim "was threatened with being shot. Adiwal slapped him about his head and pointedly asked the complainant if he knew who Adiwal was."

Grist said the assault was not serious and "was more intended to humiliate the complainant in the sight of the mill workers than to cause bodily harm."

"The attackers left after more talk of the complainant paying money to the accused Sangha," the ruling said.

Still, he rejected defence submissions that a conditional sentence would be sufficient for each accused.

"It is my view that a non-custodial sentence would not be appropriate in this case," Grist said. "The accused's actions were premeditated and designed to intimidate primarily through credible threats of significant harm. Denunciation and personal and general deterrence are appropriate sentencing principles. Further, the case does not provide assurance there would be no danger to the public if a non-custodial sentence were to be imposed."

Grist noted both men had good prospects of rehabilitation.

Sangha, 29, had no prior criminal record and works and lives with his parents.

Adiwal, 35, appears to have turned his criminal lifestyle around since his twin Peter was critically wounded in a targeted shooting, Grist said.

"Mr. Adiwal left this lifestyle after his brother was very seriously injured after being shot in 2009 and following his arrest on this charge in 2011," Grist said. "Since then, he has been employed as an auto mechanic and body man, working for part of the year in Alberta where his father is employed. He also has participated with Vancouver Police in giving talks discouraging youth from participating in gang activity."

kbolan@vancouversun.com

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