Sep 09, 2009 04:30 AM
From the Toronto Star
Eleven months ago, two young teens had a confrontation in a Brampton ravine.
One had a knife and a grudge.
He stabbed 14-year-old Rajiv (Ravi) Dharamdial five times in the chest and abdomen, two fatal wounds penetrating his heart. Then he ran away.
The teenaged killer rinsed the knife with bleach and dropped it down a sewer. He threw away or burned the clothes he had been wearing at the murder scene. Then, after police released a description of the killer, he cut his hair and stayed in hiding until surrendering to police with his lawyer eight days after the murder.
For all that, the killer, 15, will serve only eight months, the remaining part of the two-year custody portion of the seven-year sentence imposed yesterday by Justice Bruce Durno for a guilty plea to second-degree murder. The sentence is the maximum for second-degree murder under Canada’s youth laws.
Outside the Brampton courthouse, the victim’s mother, Sunita Dharamdial, bitterly lamented the fact that the teen, who was originally charged with first-degree murder before his plea bargain, will be out of custody in eight months, after receiving credit for time served. The killer has been in custody since Oct. 22, 2008.
"He’s going to get to go home, but the only thing coming home to me is Ravi’s backpack and shoes and his belongings," Sunita said. "Like a fallen soldier coming home."
"We feel betrayed by the law," Ravi’s uncle Ram added. "Two years isn’t enough. Where is the justice for taking a life?"
But as much as the sentence was difficult to accept for the Dharamdials, they were equally upset by the fact the convicted teen never apologized to the family for killing their only son on Oct. 14, 2008, as he walked home from school.
"He never said sorry … he doesn’t have a heart … nothing … no remorse …," Sunita said. "Our Ravi will never return … Our son will never visit … Our son will never age. We must visit him at a gravesite."
The Dharamdials also don’t believe the killer’s motive.
The Grade 9 student at Sandalwood Heights Secondary School was stabbed in a ravine behind his Brampton home on Fairlawn Blvd.
The accused admitted he had a "beef" with Ravi because he said the victim had "sold him bad weed," Crown prosecutor Andrea Esson said in an agreed statement read in court.
"The story is made up … I don’t believe it … Ravi did not sell drugs," a tearful Sunita said outside court.
The Dharamdials believe Ravi was killed in revenge for a fight with another student earlier that day.
"Knowing Ravi’s temperament, this does not make any sense to us," Sunita told the court earlier while reading her victim-impact statement.
"Why? Why? Why did the accused murder our son? This question haunts us on a daily basis."
There were no witnesses to the deadly attack, Esson told the court. "The accused told his friends in person, over the phone, by text message, and by MSN that he stabbed a guy," she said.
Ravi made a frantic 911 call after being attacked about 3 p.m. He was still alive when police arrived but died from his injuries soon after arriving in hospital.
The deadly attack occurred within moments of him parting ways with several friends who had been walking with him.
Witnesses said two boys followed Ravi, but the accused said his friend left him and he followed Ravi alone and confronted him.
The killer told police that Ravi came toward him and grabbed him, court heard.
"He didn’t know if he (Ravi) had a weapon," Esson said. "He felt in his pocket and found a knife. He punched and punched Ravi with the knife in his hand until he (accused) fell down. He said Ravi walked away and he ran."
Durno describe the killing as a "horrific, senseless crime" and agreed the facts behind the murder "border on the incomprehensible" for the Dharamdials.
The convicted teen’s identity remains protected by Canada’s youth laws. When he is released, he will spend five years of community supervision under some form of house arrest and curfew.