Police at the scene of a March 2016 drive-by shooting in the Wakesiah Avenue area of Nanaimo. Armaan Singh Chandi was arrested in the incident and is standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)

One man pleads guilty as trial for 2016 drive-by shooting in Nanaimo begins

Crown counsel makes opening argument in B.C. Supreme Court trial

The trial for a man accused in a 2016 broad daylight drive-by shooting in Nanaimo began Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in the city.

Armaan Singh Chandi, 18 at the time he was charged, pleaded not guilty to use of a prohibited firearm with the intention of committing murder, reckless discharge of a firearm, concealing his face with the intention of committing an indictable offence, dangerous driving and failing to stop for a peace officer. Richard Fowler is Chandi’s legal counsel.

In his opening statement, Nick Barber, Crown counsel along with Caroline Narraway, said the shooting took place in the area of Wakesiah Avenue and Second Street/Jingle Pot Road. Crown is alleging that at around 4 p.m. on March 1, 2016 a 911 call was made with an individual stating that his vehicle had been struck by gunfire.

Following an all-points bulletin, RCMP began searching for a blue Mazda 3 and located a matching vehicle on the south end of Cedar Road. Inderpal Singh Aujla, 19 when he was charged, was driving and Chandi was the passenger, said Barber. Nine casings were recovered at the shooting scene and seven bullets were located, some of which had struck the man’s vehicle.

A “considerable police chase” ensued through Ladysmith, where two officers were injured, and both men were arrested in Duncan, said Barber. After a police search, a “pistol frame” was recovered, and Barber said he will show it was used in the shooting.

Clothing was located in the vehicle, including a balaclava, and a 10-round magazine fitting the pistol frame, which Barber said was empty. He told Baird he anticipates DNA experts will testify that Aujla’s DNA was found on the pistol frame, while Chandi’s was located on balaclava. Barber also said he anticipates calling witnesses who will testify that both had gunshot residue on their hands.

RELATED: Two men charged with attempted murder after shots fired

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The trial will resume tomorrow, Jan. 15.

Subsequently, in front of B.C. provincial court Judge Douglas Cowling, Aujla pleaded guilty to using a restricted firearm for attempted murder. He also pleaded guilty to failing to stop a vehicle for a peace officer.

The News Bulletin was not able to get comment from Dutt.

The man who was shot at in the car was not injured.

Barber said the trial is expected to take two weeks.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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