Three years after Steve Nagra died from a gunshot wound, the Crown has stayed a murder charge against his accused killer.
Hershan Singh (Shawn) Bains was arrested just weeks after Nagra drove himself to Ridge Meadows Hospital in Maple Ridge in May of 2009 and collapsed in front of shocked patients in the waiting room. Nagra later died in hospital.
A second-degree murder charge against Bains was stayed in New Westminster Supreme Court last week.
Neil MacKenzie, who speaks for the Attorney-General’s criminal justice branch, confirmed that “the Crown is not proceeding on the murder charge against Hershan Bains.”
MacKenzie said he could not get into much detail about why the charge has been stayed.
“On the basis of the evidence that was originally available, Crown believed that it would be possible to prove that Mr. Bains was the person who shot Mr. Nagra,” MacKenzie said. “However, since then additional evidence has raised doubts about that.”
He said there were other suspects police believed were linked to the fatal shooting.
“Mr. Bains was not the only individual potentially responsible for the shooting and on the strength of the evidence currently available, it is not possible to establish beyond a reasonable doubt either that Mr. Bains is the person who shot Mr. Nagra, or that he was a party to the act, and therefore legally culpable regardless of whether or not he actually shot Mr. Nagra himself.”
MacKenzie said the burden of proof necessary for the Crown to proceed with a prosecution could no longer be met and the stay of proceedings was entered.
At the time of Bains’ arrest, police said he was known to them, “specifically for his continued association with organized crime figures.”
He had no criminal record.
On the other hand, Nagra had run-ins with police dating back a decade at the time of his death.
He was convicted in 1999 of possessing break-in tools and got 30 days in jail. He was also charged in May 1999 with pointing a firearm. But he was convicted only of a breach and got 14 days in jail. A year later, he signed a peace bond after admitting to inflicting “fear of injury” in the same incident.
In 2003, he was charged with uttering threats and signed a recognizance after the fact, getting a $500 fine.
Shocked patients waiting for treatment at the hospital saw Nagra pull his dark SUV, peppered with bullet holes, up to the emergency room entrance and then drag himself through the doors.
-Kim Bolan is a reporter with The Vancouver Sun