Crime

B.C. veterinarian gets 30 days for assault on vet in Sudden Valley

A prominent Surrey, B.C., veterinarian must serve 30 days of work release for an assault in Sudden Valley that left a friend with serious injuries to his face and eye, a Whatcom County judge ruled Thursday, May 7.

Harjinder S. Sekhon, 51, got into an argument while drinking with another veterinarian, Rabinderjit Singh 49, last July at a mutual friend’s house on Deer Run Lane. Singh told police Sekhon hit him in the face with a drinking glass, leaving cuts across his face and turning his left eye deep red like blood. Sekhon claimed Singh was “just drunk” and fell down, according to charging papers. He denied hitting him. The mutual friend would not corroborate either story.

Singh sent gruesome photos of his injuries to the local Indo-Canadian newspaper, the LINK, saying he needed surgery to fix his eye and that the scarring may be permanent.

“I’m suffering through a lot, which feels like hell,” Singh told the LINK. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and all this because of someone’s willful act of violence, which I believe was intended to cause harm to me.”

Around the time of his arrest, Sekhon, a longtime member of the College of Veterinarians of British Columbia’s investigative committee, was facing criticism from a group of South Asian veterinarians for supporting a new requirement to get a license to practice in the province: an English test.

Two months after his arrest, Sekhon, of Angel Animal Hospital in Surrey, announced he would resign from his position on the committee. Its chairman, Douglas Casey, wrote him a mostly gracious letter in October, though he admonished him for recent “behavior” in his personal life.

“Please accept that, while the (committee) does not wish to pry into your private affairs,” Casey wrote, “they are fully behind me in condemning the behavior that has, in part, led to your decision not to continue to be a member of what is arguably the most important committee within the regulatory structure of the CVBC.”

Sekhon entered an Alford plea — admitting there’s a good chance a jury would convict him, while maintaining his innocence — to assault in the third degree. It’s considered a conviction.

Sekhon spoke very briefly at his sentencing hearing Thursday in front of Judge Ira Uhrig.

“Sorry to be here,” he said. “I’ll never be in a situation like this again. Sorry.”

Sekhon has already paid $12,000 in restitution and $1,800 in legal fines. He’ll serve his 30 days working at an animal hospital in Enumclaw starting June 1, once his work permit gets approved.

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