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Three years jail for three-year-old Gurhsan Singh Channa's killer Gursewak Dhillon

AN INDIAN taxi driver who drove an unconscious toddler around in the boot of his car for hours before dumping his body will be free in just over two years.
Justice Lex Lasry told Gursewak Dhillon, 25, he put his own welfare before that of three-year-old Gurshan Singh Channa and the boy might have lived if he had taken him to hospital.
The judge said Dhillon was concerned he would be blamed for injuring the child and he would be deported from Australia.
"To have spent some hours with the child in your car and to have paid no regard to the welfare of the child as opposed to concern for yourself makes this a very serious offence,'' Justice Lasry said.
Dhillon was jailed for three years but because he has been held on remand for 333 days he will be free in early 2013.
In his Supreme Court sentence the judge said Dhillon told police that he opened the front door of the Lalor house he shared with Gurshan's parents and accidentally struck the toddler.
"The action of opening the door apparently struck the child to either the side or the back of his head and, to your observation, caused him to become immediately unconscious,'' said Justice Lasry.
"You told police you saw the child fall to the ground and, although that occurred, you did not hear him cry and, on one account that you gave to the police, you thought the child was dead.
" The child was not dead at that point and I do not accept that you thought he was.''
Justice Lasry said Dhillon placed Gurshan in the boot of the car but did not check his pulse or whether there was a heartbeat.
Thirty five minutes after Dhillon drove off Gurshan's parents raised the alarm and the judge said there was huge media and overseas interest because the child was an Indian.
Dhillon told homicide squad officer Detective Senior-Sgt Ron Iddles he accepted if he had called an ambulance the boy might have survived.
"Your failure to do that was because you were afraid and wanted to keep yourself safe,'' Justice Lasry said.
"You accepted that your conduct was negligent and you also accepted that you were more concerned about yourself than the welfare of the child.''
The judge referred to victim impact statements from the dead boy's parents saying they were emotional and heart rending.
"It is beyond the ability of this Court to significantly reduce that suffering. Whilst they display some understandable hostility to you, to their great credit they ask for no more than justice,'' Justice Lasry said.
The judge said Dhillon initially intended to take Gurshan to the Northern Hospital but drove past it in a state of fear and indecision and after driving around he ran out of petrol.
The judge said Dhillon looked in the boot of the car and checked on Gurshan and saw no signs of life.
At 3.30pm Dhillon dumped the toddler's body at the side of St John's Rd, Oakland Junction and nearly three hours later it was spotted by a passing truck driver.
Dhillon, of Lalor, pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter by criminal negligence, the offence being committed on March 4 last year.
Justice Lasry said it was clear Dhillon had no intention to harm the victim but it was difficult to understand why he failed to get assistance for him.
The judge said defence counsel argued that Dhillon was concerned he would be in trouble with the police and he later told them "my mind stopped working''.
Dhillon came to Australia in 2006 and enrolled in a hotel course which he did not complete.
He returned to India and after he married returned to Australia with his new wife.
The judge said he accepted Dhillon was very remorseful and it was likely he would be deported once he had served his sentence.
"You and the community generally must understand that in a situation like this there is a very strong legal obligation to assist and a failure to do so resulting in death, as this has, is a serious breach of the criminal law,'' said the judge.
Justice Lasry set a maximum term of five years.

Herald Sun (2-2-2011)
Norrie Ross

Gursewak Dhillon charged over death of toddler Gurshan Singh

A HOUSEMATE of three-year-old Indian boy Gurshan Singh, whose body was found on a roadside in Melbourne on Thursday, has been charged over his death.
Police allege that part-time taxi driver Gursewak Dhillon, 23, placed the boy unconscious in the boot of his car and drove him around for at least three hours before dumping him in a field north of Melbourne.
He will face Melbourne Magistrate's Court tomorrow charged with manslaughter due to criminal negligence.
Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles said that Mr Dhillon lived at the same address as Gurshan and Gurshan's parents, Harjit Singh and Harpreet Kaur. Six other people also shared the house.
Although Mr Gursewak lived in the same house as Gurshan, he is not a relative.
Detective Iddles said that Mr Dhillon "placed the child in the boot of his car unconscious but still alive. He then drove up to at least three hours with the child in the boot of the car, eventually stopping at Oaklands Junction, where he placed the child from the boot into the grass and did not check to see if the child was alive."
Detective Iddles gave no evidence about how Gurshan came to be unconscious.
Mr Dhillon appeared before an out-of-sessions hearing last night at St Kilda Road Police complex dressed in a white polo shirt, black tracksuit pants and brown thongs.
He appeared calm, referring to the dead boy at one stage as "the kid ... the kid that died" when asked who lived with him.
Detective Iddles said police opposed bail because Mr Dhillon had few ties to Australia and was under investigation by immigration officials over allegations his passport may be false.
Mr Dhillon, who just bought a small truck and was due to start full-time work with a courier company on Wednesday, lives in Melbourne with his wife. He has a daughter in his native India.
He applied for bail, offering to leave his passport and driver's licence with police and initially telling the bail justice he could stay at the friend's house in Melbourne's north where he was arrested yesterday morning.
Detective Iddles said police had spoken with the man's friend and were told that "because of the events that transpired today he (Mr Dhillon) is no longer welcome there".
Mr Dhillon then gave the phone number of another friend, a man with whom he plays cricket.
He said his friend would be happy to take him in as long as the media was kept away from the house.
However, the phone number was found to be out of service.
Mr Dhillon was remanded in custody amid concerns that he posed an unacceptable flight risk and could also tamper with witnesses in the case.
Gurshan vanished from his house while his mother was in the shower and his father was at a nearby library.
His body was found by a council worker in long grass behind Melbourne Airport.
Gurshan and his parents had been living in the house for two months while visiting Australia. The family had been preparing to return to their home in Kotkapura, Punjab.
Earlier today Gurshan's parents attended a religious service today to mourn his death. The couple have been interviewed by detectives but a police spokeswoman stressed they were not under arrest.
An autopsy has failed to determine a cause of death and his fully-clothed body showed no signs of trauma.

AAP (8-3-2010)

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