Guilty verdict. Rapist goes free. #poonisisters denied justice. Crown Counsel must appeal.
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My sisters and I were raped and sexually assaulted by our cousin in Williams Lake, British Columbia. After eight years of manipulating the system Manjit Virk has walked away a free man even though he was found guilty in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Please provide your support by signing my petition to encourage Crown Counsel to appeal the decision to stay the proceedings and initiate an Inquiry. Sexual assault victims should never be revictimized as we have been.
In 2006, my sisters Kira, Salakshana and I, along with our cousin Raj Rana, broke our silence of rape and sexual abuse by our male cousin Manjit Virk. As innocent girls, Virk systematically sexually assaulted us. The heinous acts that were forced upon my sisters and I happened in our William’s Lake family home. He had been welcomed into our home as a trusted ‘brother’.
For 11 years we tenaciously pursued criminal charges against Virk and on April 06, 2018, he was found guilty on four of six counts of sexual assault. After the judgment, Virk filed a Section (11b) Charter Application (“Jordan Application”) asking the court for a stay of proceedings, claiming his right to a timely trial was breached.
Shockingly, Virk's application was granted and proceedings were stayed on June 10th, 2019, by the Supreme Court of British Columbia even though Virk continually manipulated the system by deliberately causing delays. A stay of proceedings means all criminal charges have been dropped, there will be no sentencing, no criminal record, and his name will not be put on the National Sex Offender Registry. My sisters and I were, and are, in a state of disbelief.
Through the years of court proceedings, we witnessed Virk cause many of the delays himself and countless adjournments. This includes his calculated request to access our counselling records, offering to change his plea to guilty, changing lawyers, claiming he had run out of money to fund his defence, not appearing in court claiming he was sick, and much more.
This stay of proceedings sends the message to all Canadians that sexual abuse victims will be revictimized by our current justice system. It also sends the message that women, girls, boys and anyone that has been raped or sexually assaulted has no value. It puts to question why any abuse survivor would come forward to be revictimized by a broken justice system.
There have been so many errors and loopholes that have shadowed our court case and caused it to drag out. An Inquiry will educate policy and law makers to bring about the dire changes needed in our broken justice system. There are so many questions in this multi-million dollar court case that need to be answered. My sisters and I, and all Canadians, deserve answers and a justice system we can trust.
The National Film Board of Canada has recognized the importance of our story and produced the documentary Because We Are Girls directed by Baljit Sangra that profiles the resilience of us sisters surviving sexual abuse. The documentary was released at Hot Docs in Toronto and at DOXA in Vancouver spring 2019.
Many media outlets such as the CBC, The Globe and Mail, Omni TV, CTV News, Daily Hive Vancouver and the Surrey Now-Leader have covered our case. The disbelief that Virk now gets to walk away a free man has created an uproar and mistrust in the Canadian justice system. This is the system that is supposed to protect us, yet Virk has now returned to his community.
Many of you have reached out to us asking what you can do to support an appeal and an Inquiry. You can support the call for justice by signing this petition to press upon Attorney General of British Columbia - Mr. David Eby, Assistant Deputy Attorney General - Mr. Peter Juk and Williams Lake Crown Counsel how important it is to appeal the stay of proceedings in this ‘R. v. Manjit Virk’ case. Let's also call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada - Mr. David Lametti and key policy makers to order an Inquiry into this case, which from inception has been riddled with so many errors.
Your support is vital to ensure Crown does its due diligence in taking this case to the highest level for justice, from the British Columbia Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada if need be.
Your voice makes a difference. I invite you to sign this petition.
Thank you for supporting me, my sisters, our families, and all survivors of sexual abuse.
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