Ottawa man and former lover plead not guilty to murdering his wife in retrial

·2 min read

An Ottawa man and his former lover pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on Monday in the death of his wife seven years ago.

Jagtar Gill was discovered beaten, stabbed and with her throat slashed in the family's home in 2014.

Crown attorney Jason Neubauer argued on Monday that Bhupinderpal Gill and Gurpreet Ronald acted in tandem to murder the 43-year-old mother of three.

“I anticipate you’ll hear evidence that Mr. Gill and Ms. Ronald’s determination to be together and their hatred of Jagtar tracks back to more than a year and a half before Jagtar’s death,” said Neubauer.

Jagtar Gill was at home, recuperating from a minor operation, on the day of her death, court heard.

Two of her children were at school that day while the eldest, who was 15 at the time, stayed home to study for an exam and take care of her mother, the trial heard.

The Crown argued that Bhupinderpal Gill's role in the murder was to isolate his wife by running errands with his daughter for two hours so that Ronald could come into his home and murder her.

During those errands, the Crown said that Bhupinderpal Gill and Ronald exchanged several phone calls and met at a local store. Neubauer argued that three of those calls and the in-person meeting took place after Jagtar Gill was dead.

Jagtar Gill's daughter called 911 after finding her mother's body in the family's living room in the suburban Ottawa neighbourhood of Barrhaven.

Neubauer said in his opening argument that in the brief five-minute span between his daughter calling 911 and police arriving on the scene, Bhupinderpal Gill cleaned two kitchen knives and hid a blood-covered weightlifting bar in a box in the basement

Neubauer also said the Crown would prove that the accused worked together to hide or destroy evidence, including Ronald driving to a remote wooded location to throw away a large kitchen knife and blue latex gloves that had the victim's blood on it.

The case is being retried after Ontario's Court of Appeal overturned the decision of Gill and Ronald's original trial in 2016.

The Court of Appeal found on Dec. 11, 2020 that the judge in the previous trial failed to give the jury proper instructions.

Due to ongoing public safety concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the court reporter and co-councils were in a separate courtroom as the trial began Monday.

The no-jury trial is being streamed online.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2021.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press