Legal issues stem from January incident
By: john loeppky and julia peterson
The Carillon has obtained documents that show that URSU president-elect Gurjinder Singh Lehal has been charged with one count of assault with a weapon and one count of assault, stemming from an incident “on or about the 16th of January 2020.” Lehal denies the charges, though has confirmed their existence, and has his next court date later this month for further disclosure.
Multiple board members have confirmed that they were never briefed on the any of the candidates, nor Lehal’s legal situation. It should be noted that boards are generally separate from their own elections to prevent any form of meddling. General Manager Carl Flis says he was made aware of the legal concerns by campus security “well before the election had even begun” and that he and Lehal discussed the issue during a face to face meeting prior to the elections. Chief Returning Officer Amber Smale confirmed via email that she knew of the charges but that, “… however that has no bearing on an Election and no action may be taken against the candidate until those matters before the court are resolved.”
There are no mentions in the election bylaws of accused illegal behaviour (or indeed formal charges) barring candidates from running in student union elections, though Flis said that in order to stay employed executives must be considered “in good standing.”
“It’s within their employment agreement that they always have to be in good standing so, should they fall out of good standing, they would have to resign, if not the board is entitled to terminate their employment.”
Pat Patton, director of campus security, said in an email that she could not speak to the matter and that “… due to privacy, I cannot comment on any student’s information with Campus Security.”
For his part, Lehal said that he believes the allegations against him were false and that his election can be a plus for the campus.
“It gave me a bit of power that I can use for my fellow students that will enhance because I know it’s their [those who accused him] fault and they [the charges] will be dropped out, you know, with another court date but I hope that these sort of things should not happen with other fellow students on the campus and they should be, they should be feeling safe.“
Lehal called the allegations against him “a false story.”
Flis said that URSU’s position involves the Canadian legal doctrine of presumed innocence.
“In this country people are innocent until proven guilty … until something affirmative or confirmed comes from that [legal] procedure we could not disqualify him.”
The charges are one count of assault and one count of assault with a weapon, described in documents viewed by the Carillon as a metal rod. His initial court date was Feb. 20.
The Carillon has requested further information from the court to confirm the sequence of events as the Regina Police Service has a policy of not discussing ongoing cases.