Two Surrey men charged in the 2011 slaying of university student Maple Batalia are being held in custody at least until their bail hearings are heard early next year.
Maple Batalia, 19, of Surrey was shot dead on the third level of the Simon Fraser University campus parkade, in Surrey's city centre, on Sept. 28.
Her alleged killers, Gurjinder Dhaliwal, 20, and Gursimar Bedi, 22, appeared briefly in Surrey provincial court on Monday morning.
Batalia studied health sciences at SFU and was also an aspiring actress and model. Police found her dying of multiple gunshot wounds and paramedics had struggled to save her but she died in hospital.
She had been returning to her car after a late-night study session when she was shot.
Dhaliwal - who had once dated Batalia - cast a glance at the victim's dad from the prisoner's box as the court set his next appearance to Dec. 17. Bedi appeared by video; his next appearance is also set for Dec. 17.
Dhaliwal is charged with first-degree murder. "He intends to plead not guilty," his lawyer, Dave Albert, told reporters outside the courthouse.
The case has drawn considerable publicity, Albert noted. He said he hopes the public will understand that a cornerstone of Canada's justice system is presumption of innocence until proven otherwise. "The presumption of innocence is important."
Bedi, meantime, is charged with manslaughter using a firearm and accessory after the fact. He has yet to find a lawyer, Albert said.
Albert expects their bail hearings will be heard in January.
Batalia's family didn't speak with the media after Monday's court appearance.
Both accused men were arrested on Friday following a 14-month police investigation.
"The loss of Maple Batalia, a beautiful young woman with a promising life in front of her, is a tragedy that cannot be measured in the community," said Chief Supt. Bill Fordy, in charge of the Surrey RCMP. "For all those who knew and loved her, most especially her loving family, the pain is evident and immeasurable.
"I am confident that justice will prevail," he said.
Supt. Kevin Hackett, officer in charge of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team, said he couldn't discuss specific evidence because the matter is now before the courts.
"This had an impact on our community's overall sense of security and safety," he said of Batalia's murder.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring Delta, DOVE (Delta Opposes Violence Everywhere) is preparing to stage displays at schools and shopping malls this week, from Dec. 4 to 8.
The safety campaign coincides with the Dec. 6 National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women.
The DOVE committee offers emergency care kits to men, women and children fleeing abusive relationships. email@example.com
© Copyright 2013