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Boparai gets probation for angry tirade

Following a guilty plea to uttering threats after the former head of the BC Fruit Growers’ Association wielded a shovel while threatening to kill a neighbour, the man involved has now been handed a suspended sentence and probation.

Kirpal Boparai, 52, became enraged on Aug. 19 2013, just days after a freak hailstorm damaged crops around the Okanagan. Boparai was incensed upon learning he was not invited along as part of a delegation of local politicians that toured some of the damaged areas and spoke with growers.

After arguing over the telephone with orchardist Karmjit Gill, Boparai drove to his home and began yelling outside Gill’s home, threating to kill him.

In a joint submission where both sides agreed to the details of the case, the court heard that Boparai showed up with his son outside Gill’s home saying, “I’m going to kill you right here, right now” and “That ****er is dying tonight”.

Other witnesses to the scene also told police they saw Boparai banging a shovel on the ground and threatening to kill people.

When officers arrived they saw Boparai standing near a shovel, and being restrained by his son. When they detained him for uttering threats and placed him in the back of a police car, one officer noted “a strong odour of liquor.”

Boparai continued to yell and swear out the open window of the police cruiser and while being driven to the detachment, used his cell phone to continue making threats to Gill and his family.

The Crown argued for a “substantial” fine and probation due to the aggravating factors of the case, including Boparai’s use of a shovel as a sign of intimidation and the nature of his threats.

Boparai’s defence lawyer instead suggested a conditional discharge as his client had no criminal history and has been an upstanding member of both the business community and Sikh community for many years.

A victim impact statement written by Gill said that since the incident, he was insecure and scared in his own house; constantly looking over his shoulder and finding it difficult to concentrate on his business.

Madam Justice Anne Wallace decided that a conditional discharge was not appropriate in this matter and handed down the suspended sentence with six months of probation. The other charge, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, has been stayed by the Crown.

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