Canadian convicted of lying in Air India bomb case

Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:52pm EDT
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A Canadian man who admitted helping make the bomb that destroyed Air India Flight 182 was found guilty of perjury on Saturday during the trial of two other men accused of history's deadliest airline bombing.

Inderjit Singh Reyat sat passively in the prisoner's box as the jury in Vancouver delivered its verdict after more than two days of deliberations. He later gave a short wave to family members as he was escorted from the courtroom into custody.

Reyat was convicted of lying in the trial of two other Canadian men charged with murder for bombing Air India Flight 182, which exploded over the Atlantic Ocean in 1985, killing 329 people.

Prosecutors subpoenaed Reyat as a witness in 2003 after he had pleaded guilty to reduced charges of helping make the bomb at his home in Duncan, British Columbia on Canada's Pacific coast.

On the witness stand, Reyat, 58, denied knowing what the bomb was to be used for, who organized the plot, or ever asking the name of a man who spent a week at his home completing construction of the explosive device.

The other men accused in the case, Ripudaman Singh Malik and Ajiab Singh Bagri, were both acquitted of murder. The judge who acquitted them called Reyat an "unmitigated liar" but said Reyat's testimony was not the major factor in his decision.

Prosecutors say Reyat who was born in India and holds both British and Canadian citizenship, tried to mislead the court.

He denied that, and said his testimony reflected his poor English-language skills. His attorneys argued that as a low-level "soldier" in the plot, Reyat would not have asked questions of its leaders.   Continued...

<p>An artist's sketch shows Inderjit Singh Reyat (L) appearing in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver British Columbia, March 27, 2006. REUTERS/Felicity Don</p>