News

402 murder trial jury forewarned about hearsay evidence from friend that wife had affair

By Neil Bowen, Sarnia Observer

Fire and police officials on the scene of a fatal transport fire on westbound Highway 402, south of Sarnia, on Jan. 31, 2016. (BARBARA SIMPSON, Sarnia Observer)

Fire and police officials on the scene of a fatal transport fire on westbound Highway 402, south of Sarnia, on Jan. 31, 2016. (BARBARA SIMPSON, Sarnia Observer)

SARNIA - 

Gurpreet Brar was slapped by both her husband and brother-in-law and criticized for not measuring up as a wife before she died in a Highway 402 truck fire, a murder trial heard Thursday.

Sukhchain Singh Brar, 52, is charged with first-degree murder in the Jan. 31, 2016 death of his 37-year-old wife, whose body was found in the burnt remains of the transport truck he’d been driving west on Highway 402 near Sarnia about 3 a.m. that day.

Amid turmoil in their Brampton home, Gurpreet Brar had been slapped by both her husband and his brother, the jury was told.

Gurpreet Brar lived with her husband and their three children. Her mother-in-law and brother-in-law also were living in the Brampton home during 2015.

Grupreet was being questioned about her comings and goings and told she was not being a proper wife by her husband’s relatives, court heard.

A friend, Karamjit Kaur, testified Gurpreet admitted to a long-­standing affair with another man and Gurpreet wondered if the man may be the father of her youngest child. The man travelled with Gurpreet on trips to New York and was in India during one of her annual visits there, court heard.

Superior Court Justice Bruce Thomas told jurors such evidence was hearsay and at the end of the trial he would be telling them how to deal with hearsay evidence.

Gurpreet’s 67-year-old mother testified that she knew nothing about her daughter’s relationship with another man. She said such a relationship would be shameful.

Sukhchain Singh Brar and Gurpreet were joined in an arranged marriage in 1999.

At the time of the marriage Sukhchain Singh Brar had agreed to make a cash payment of 800,000 rupees ($15,744 at today’s exchange rate) and to bring his wife’s family to Canada. He did both.

Throughout his mother-in-law’s testimony, the accused’s head was bowed, nearly touching a table.

The couple’s daughter also testified. The young teen said her mother had repeatedly asked her to join her parents on the Jan. 30 truck trip. Her mother also was a licensed truck driver and the couple had done long trips as a team.

The daughter said she had seen her mother punched by her brother-in-law. During another argument her mother put her hands around her husband’s neck.

Many times her mother had told her she felt like she wasn’t part of the home, said the daughter.

The daughter called her parents about 11 p.m. Jan. 30. Her mother asked her to make sure her younger brother’s clothes were ready for school the following morning. There was nothing unusual about the talk with her parents.

The teen said she did not know what type of relationship her mother had with the other man.

She considered him as an uncle as she did other family friends.

nbowen@postmedia.com