Stay of proceedings after Jaspal Atwal accused of uttering threats

SURREY, B.C. — The BC Prosecution Service says it won't pursue a charge of uttering threats against the man who sparked a political firestorm when he attended an event during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's state visit to India last year.

The prosecution service says it has directed a stay of proceedings for Jaspal Atwal on a charge unrelated to Trudeau's state visit.

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Atwal's lawyer Marvin Stern said in May 2018 that a charge of uttering threats was laid against his client following an alleged argument in April.

Atwal was convicted of trying to kill an Indian cabinet minister during a visit to Vancouver Island in 1986, but has said he has since renounced terrorism.

Critics said he should never have received an invitation to the state event in Mumbai, where he was photographed in February 2018 with Trudeau's wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.

The prosecution service says the stay was directed in court on June 7 after it receiving new information and determined the charge approval standard could no longer be met.

It says in a statement that the standard requires Crown counsel to consider whether there is a substantial likelihood of conviction and whether the public interest requires a prosecution.

"As new information is received, Crown counsel continue to evaluate whether the evidentiary standard is met or the public interest continues to require a prosecution. If, at any stage, this standard is no longer met, the prosecution cannot proceed and a stay of proceedings is entered," the service says.

Reached by phone Monday, Atwal called the charge "bogus."

"I didn't threaten him," he said.

Stern said Atwal has denied the allegation lodged by a radio broadcaster from the outset.

"It's unfortunate it's taken this long to straighten out," Stern said.

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