“This file is already pretty old” Crown complains
Court proceedings against individuals charged with operating fake truck driving schools have been delayed again, this time to June 7th, 2023.
In Ottawa criminal court on May 24th, Justice Grant was told by counsel for three of the four accused that they were seeking a delay of three weeks because “Counsel is having trouble meeting with the clients to decide which witnesses to call.”
Upon hearing this, Crown Attorney L. Welch remarked, “This file is already pretty old.”
On May 18th, 2022, Quebec’s Economic Crimes Investigation Service, in collaboration with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), arrested 6 individuals from Montreal, Laval and Brampton, Ontario in connection with the production and the use of false documents. The documents allowed foreign clients to obtain driver’s licenses, including licenses to drive heavy goods vehicles.
The suspects allowed their foreign clients to obtain a class 5 (passenger vehicle) and possibly a class 1 (heavy goods vehicle) driver’s license from the SAAQ, using falsified documents.
Another scheme that was uncovered involved individuals operating unlicensed schools and delivering unauthorized training to students in Ontario and Quebec.
Gurvinder Singh, 55, of Laval, Que.; Gurpreet Singh, 33, of Saint Eustache, Que.; Mohammad Khokhar, 66, of Cornwall, Ont.; Jagjeet Deol, 50, of Caledon; Charanjit Kaur Deol, 50, of Caledon; and Hanifa Khokhar, 68, of Cornwall, Ont., were charged with fraud over $5,000.
“I am concerned with the extended delays, as it seems to connote a sense of a lack of concern, thereby relegating the consequences to some distant point,” Philip Fletcher, president of the Truck Training Schools Association of Ontario told Road Warrior News.
“From an observers perspective, it may make the defendants’ deeds seem less offensive, when in fact, they are not.”
“The focus of this lengthy investigation has been public safety,” said Detective Inspector Daniel Nadeau with the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch at the time of the charges in 2022. “Tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles can be deadly in the hands of those with little or unapproved training.”
At the May 24th hearing, Counsel representing Gurpreet Singh, 33, of Saint Eustache, Quebec; Jagjeet Deol, 50, of Caledon; and Charanjit Kaur Deol, 50, of Caledon requested the additional time to contact witnesses. Although he was charged at the same time as the others, it did not appear to be clear to the court who was representing Gurvinder Singh. It was agreed that a scheduling conference call would be held on May 31, 2023, before the return to court on June 7th.