Gurinderpal Brar’s sentence extended, attempted murder as well as guilty of beating three Sikh temple parishioners

High Court Justice Mark Woolford described it as having “all the hallmarks of religious fanaticism”.

Gurinderpal Brar (aka “Baba Ji”), the mastermind behind a failed plot to murder an Indian-origin radio host in South Auckland, has his jail term extended after pleading guilty to beating three of his own Sikh temple parishioners nearly a decade ago.

All three assaults happened in April 2015, and as per the New Zealand Herald report the Court documents state Brar beat the congregation members with tree branches, leaving each man with facial bruising. One of the men was also attacked with a metal utensil used to stir food resulting in a bloody nose and swollen eye.

49-year-old Brar is currently serving a 13-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the attempted murder of local popular media personality Harnek Singh.

- Advertisement -
Image: (Centre) Harnek Singh, the victim of brutal attempted murder by Khalistan supporters- (Left) Jobanpreet Singh (Source: Instagram) and (Right) Sukhpreet Singh, two of the perpetrators sentenced by NZ Court (Source: NZ Herald screenshot)

In November 2023, High Court Justice Mark Woolford described it as having “all the hallmarks of religious fanaticism”.

The maximum sentence for attempted murder is 14 years imprisonment. However, Brar received a six-month credit for the time he spent on electronically monitored bail awaiting trial.

Justice Woolford noted that while ordering a nine-year non-parole period:

“Sentencing in this context requires a different approach. The emphasis must be placed on protecting the community from further violence and it is essential to send a strong message of deterrence to others.”

Earlier, The New Zealand Herald reported that Brar led two popular Sikh Gurudwaras in Auckland and had a large following.

Brar moved to New Zealand in 2002 and started his own transport business. He soon started holding prayer groups in his living room and within a few years generated enough interest to build his own two Sikh Gurudwara’s in Rotorua and East Tāmaki.

Image: Attack victim Radio Virsa Host Harnek Singh (Source: Instagram)

In December 2020, Harnek Singh was brutally ambushed by a group of pro-Khalistan extremists in the driveway of his Wattle Downs home. He survived more than 40 stab wounds.

- Advertisement -

The jury found Brar guilty in October 2023 of orchestrating the armed ambush and nearly successful murder of Harnek Singh.

In this week’s sentencing, Judge Sanjay Patel allowed discounts for Brar’s guilty pleas, good behaviour, and contribution to the community. However, it is reported, that Judge Patel declined a discount for remorse because Brar told a pre-sentence report writer that he wasn’t responsible for the beatings of three men.

A promotional shot for the Radio Virsa NZ station to the Auckland Sikh community. Host Harnek Singh is pictured centre. Photo / nzherald.co.nz

All of the victims have left New Zealand and now live overseas. None provided victim impact statements.

The judge said he would have ordered a stand-alone sentence of 13 months for the assaults. But as Brar is already serving a lengthy sentence, Judge Patel instead ordered a six-month prison sentence that will be cumulative to his current prison term thus bringing Brar’s total combined sentences to 14 years.

Brar was escorted by security into a Manukau District Court dock thus bringing to a close a year-long legal process.

Support Our Journalism

Global Indian Diaspora needs fair, non-hyphenated, and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. The Australia Today – with exceptional reporters, columnists, and editors – is doing just that. Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States of America, or India you can take a paid subscription by clicking Patreon. Buy an annual ‘The Australia Today Membership’ to support independent journalism and get special benefits.