Two Indian-Canadians plead not guilty of murder


Two Indian-Canadians, accused of murdering an Indian-origin teenager during a gang war, pleaded not guilty, a media report said.

Amritpal Dhillon, who was charged with second-degree murder, and his accomplice Amritpaul Rakhra, who was charged with manslaughter, pleaded not guilty to the 23 January 2013 slaying of Manraj Akalirai, The Province newspaper from Vancouver reported.

Dhillon, who was 20-year-old at the time of incident, and Rakhra, who was 18, were presented in a Vancouver court when the prosecution laid out the details of the murder.

Akalirai was 19 years old when he was killed on Elgin Street in East Vancouver.

In the opening statement to the jury, the prosecution said that Akalirai and his friend were leaving latter’s home to eat on the night of the incident, and they saw many cars, including of Dhillon’s, roaming in the area.

Akalrai’s friend, who is also the witness in the case, retrieved ski masks, a machete and a samurai sword before moving out.

Soon the accused Dhillon and his accomplices intercepted Akalrai’s car and, along with five to six people, attacked Akalrai and his friend with a hockey stick, a hammer and a pipe wrench. The witness fought with them with the samurai sword while Akalrai stayed in the car.

The friend’s hand was struck and he dropped the sword. Meanwhile, Akalrai started running to save himself.

Dhillon picked up the sword and, along with Rakhra, pursued Akalrai to the front yard of their home.

The prosecution told the jury that Dhillon struck Akalirai’s back with the samurai sword “to almost entirely sever the upper portion of the victim’s head” while Rakhra used a golf club to beat him.

Police arrested the accused from the scene and took Akalrai to a hospital.

Akalirai suffered serious injuries on his forehead and was later pronounced dead in the hospital, the jury was told.