SURREY - A one-time professional truck driver turned road menace was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison by a Surrey provincial court judge for his role in a 2008 hit-and-run crash that killed a Surrey couple and badly injured their daughter.
Ravinder Singh Binning, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of dangerous driving causing death, one count of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and fleeing from the scene of a crash that killed Whalley resident Dilbag Badh, 61, and his wife Bakshish Badh, 60, on July 12, 2008.
Binning waved goodbye to a small group of friends inside the packed courtroom as a sheriff led him away after Judge Reg Harris sentenced him. Besides the four years in prison, Binning has also been prohibited from driving for 10 years, starting today (Thursday).
"The harm caused was extreme," Harris said.
Harris said at the outset that no sentence could ease the Badh family's pain nor could it be considered a reflection of the value of their lost lives.
"There's no way any sentence could properly reflect the way they were cherished and loved," he said. Their deaths, he noted, "will undoubtedly have an impact on future generations."
Binning's Acura TL rear-ended the couple's BMW at high speed in the 8500-block of 128th Street in Newton as they were driving home from their daughter Rupi's engagement party at the Dhaliwal Banquet Hall.
The BMW smashed into a telephone pole as the Acura slid on its roof for 100 metres or so before Binning bailed out. The Badh's other daughter Varinder was badly injured but survived.
Harris noted that she lives in a constant state of pain.
The Crown had argued for a prison term of at least five years and a lifetime driving ban. The defence argued for a cumulative sentence of roughly three years.
"Justice for my mom and dad was not fulfilled," Varinder Badh said outside the courthouse while fellow family members gathered round, wearing black shirts with a photo of Dilbag and Bakshish on the front, and "Enough is Enough" across the back.
Badh, who happens to be a criminologist, called for minimum sentencing for cases such as these. Once that happens, she suggests, consequences "will be understood."
"There has to be change," she said.
At the time of sentencing Binning already had 13 Motor Vehicle Act convictions and 16 driving prohibitions under his belt. He was in court last December to plead guilty to impaired driving, obstructing police and fleeing from police in relation to an incident that happened eight months after the crash that killed the Badhs. Binning received a suspended sentence, 16 months probation, an 18-month driving prohibition and a $2,300 fine in that case.
"This is not about us, this is about public safety," Varinder Badh said. "We hope that our case serves as an example to those policy makers to revisit how they allow such persons to continue driving, and by revisiting and re-evaluating that perhaps increase public safety because we all do use our roadways."
The court heard that Binning is single, with no dependents, and moved here from India when he was 12. He at one time made a living driving 18-wheelers.
Harris said he considered 21 victims impact statements, as well as 84 reference letters filed on Binning's behalf, before sentencing. The judge said he does not believe Binning feels any real remorse, noting he had referred to the Badh crash as an accident that could have happened to anyone.
If Binning was remorseful,
Harris reasoned, he would not have left the scene of the crash and would have called for emergency help on his cellphone rather than calling friends and family immediately afterward.