Monday, January 9, 2012


FIFTH ESTATE is an award winning CBC television program known for its quality investigative journalism. This coming week, on Friday January 13th at 9 PM Pacific Time, it will air a show to which many of us have looked forward. The show is entitled tile ‘DIAGNOSIS MURDER’ and it is a documentary on the questionable science of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Paul and Zabeth Bayne will be involved in this expose. You will recall that this couple lost custody of their three children with an event that began in September 2007. For two years this blog chronicled their story – the medical diagnosis of their youngest child’s injuries as SBS and the subsequent establishment of a Ministry of Children’s case that one or both of the parents were responsible for those injuries. That unchanging conviction directed the Ministry’s actions for the next four years. RCMP had dropped charges due to insufficient evidence. That did not stop MCFD. We can understand the need to be cautious, even suspicious, and therefore exercise due diligence to ascertain whether these parents are a risk or not, and further whether they deserve and can manage three children if they are returned to them.

Will this be a good documentary? Will it affect any benefits for the Baynes, or for other parents who have been suspected of shaking a child? I have great expectations for this approaching show. My confidence comes from the record of archived Fifth Estate shows and most recently the success of this past week’s show entitled ESCAPE FROM JUSTICE.

Jassi Sidhu
Maple Ridge resident Jassi Sidhu was murdered in a roadside attack in Punjab, India, and in the same attack her husband Mithu Sidhu was left for dead in 2000. The murder was described as an honour killing. No Sidhu family member went to India to claim the body for burial. In India seven people were convicted of Jassi’s murder and were imprisoned in India. Evidence gathered by Indian authorities pointed to members of Jassi’s own family, resident in Maple Ridge, Canada, as having arranged Jassi's murder. Indian authorities laid charges of complicity in the murder against Jassi's  mother Malkit Kaur Sidhu and Jassi's uncle Surjit Singh Badesha, the patriarch of the family. However, no extradition agreement existed between Canada and India. So convincingly did Fifth Estate reveal the records of phone calls from the family compound in Maple Ridge to the contract killer in India that an objective viewer would concur that there was complicity. The RCMP and the Canadian Federal government however gave no indication for ten years that they would proceed with charges or prosecution here in Canada or extradition of the accused family members to India. In India Jassi’s husband recovered from his injuries and devoted himself to uncovering the truth about her murder.

The far reaching power of Sidhu family money from Maple Ridge allegedly resulted in a woman in India charging Mithu Sidhu with rape and he was tried and sentenced. He spent four years in jail until under the pressure of studious investigation like that of Fifth Estate journalists, a case was made that Jassi’s family manipulated this false accusation. The accusing woman withdrew her complaint and confessed that she had lied. Mithu was released but he is still in constant danger of retaliation.

Jassi Sidhu and Mithu Sidhu
Jassi Sidhu met Mithu during a visit to a Punjabi village where her parents were born. Mithu was a rickshaw (taxi) driver without property or money. We are told that it was unthinkable to the Sidhu family that she could be allowed to marry someone like him. It would dishonour her family, the cultural theory goes. Fifth Estate revealed that when she returned to Maple Ridge she was held in her room for some time but eventually made her way back to India. People close to Jassi affirmed that.

Malkit Kauer Sidhu  (Jassi's mother)
The weight of the Fifth Estate evidence was so convincing that television viewers must all have questioned what is wrong with the RCMP that charges are not laid or with our federal government that they do not make an extradition agreement with India to bring the family members to justice. We did not wait long. The next morning, Saturday January 7th the public announcement was posted on news sources that Jassi’s uncle and her own mother had been arrested that day. Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 63, the mother of victim Jassi Sidhu, and uncle Surjit Singh Badesha, 67 were arrested Friday in the Vancouver suburb of Maple Ridge. Now in custody they await an extradition hearing. This is the culmination of an exhaustive 11-year international investigation that involved RCMP and Indian police.

I am convinced that the next Fifth Estate will become the catalyst for reviewing a lot of SBS cases across our country, for releasing individuals who have been incarcerated on convictions of SBS, for restoring children to parents when the cases are closed. I can hardly wait to watch this.

Wouldn't it be astounding if Fifth Estate had reason to do an entire show on Autism and the trouble that arises when authorities in social work and the judiciary do not understand the condition?


  1. for Dylanarman 4:56 AM
    If you are looking for your comment, it was not published. One referenced link was an advertisement and the rest of the comment was incomprehensible. A bit more clarity & perhaps it can work.

  2. There are some things that I can guarantee you about the Ayn case. First the children's ministry is simply not capable of caring better for little Ayn than her father is. They do not have any clear idea about goals or objectives for the little girl. Not only do they not understand her emotional needs, but they have no proven way of defining and achieving goals. Drugging her and restraining her is not a proven way of changing or managing her behaviour. It is not sustainable and borders on abuse.
    Secondly--as was proven in the Bayne case--the Fraser director is incapable of understanding the harm he can do to a child. Not only is he incapable of understanding, but he is also incapable of admitting it. Much less is he capable of remedying any of the damage he does.
    The end result is that they can subject both parents and children to intolerable emotional stress without any justifiable hope of a constructive outcome. Meanwhile they will make sanctimonious statements about the duty to protect the best interests of a child. They can do all their damage, secure in the knowledge that the courts will rubberstamp anything they care to do.
    You asked a question about the services provided by MCF to the parents of autistic children. I have not made inquiries, but I would start by looking in the government directory and contacting one of the many information officer listed. Any reader can make a contribution by doing this, even if you live on the other side of the world. However, a word of warning. Just because something is in theory available, by no means does this mean that any individual will get it. I think you will find that most of the money spent on autistic children is spent on hiring case aids to manage the behaviour of autistic children in classroom situations. As I wrote in my article on autism. There is a big difference between changing behaviour and managing behaviour. If we fail to recognise the difference we spend a lot of time and money trying to train untrainable children. It is far more effective and cost effective to devise behaviour management programs. This was what was often done in the "special schools" only they were often eliminated on the grounds that they stigmatised children. We are always faced with trying to find the least evil.


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