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Man pleads guilty in fatal hit-and-run

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A Winnipeg man has admitted to a deadly hit-and-run which happened months after he was banned from driving.

Roop Singh Dhaliwal, 36, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to driving while disqualified and fleeing the scene of an accident causing death. The Crown is now seeking a two-year jail sentence, while his lawyer is asking for a fine and conditional penalty which allows Dhaliwal to remain free in the community.

Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey has reserved her decision until May 23.

Melissa Ranville, 19, died of massive trauma after being run over while walking down Sheppard Street near Inkster Boulevard in August 2009. Dhaliwal was behind the wheel of a 2004 Nissan and claims he never saw Ranville, who was wearing dark clothing. He struck her from behind, causing Ranville’s body to strike the windshield before going under the vehicle. Dhaliwal kept driving and later admitted to a family friend he knew he was responsible for killing the young woman.

Dhaliwal waited four days before turning himself in to police. Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft told court Tuesday there is no evidence that Dhaliwal was impaired at the time of the deadly crash.

Dhaliwal was arrested in May 2009 and charged with impaired driving, refusing a breathalyser and fleeing the scene of an accident. He was released on bail the following day with conditions which included a driving ban.

Dhaliwal was re-arrested on Aug. 5, 2009 after being accused of breaching certain conditions of his release. He was released again on bail. Specifics were not presented in court Tuesday as he wasn’t convicted of that incident.

Dhaliwal then struck and killed Ranville on Aug. 14.

"He should not have been driving at all. That is a significant aggravating factor," said Vanderhooft.

Ranville’s parents presented victim impact statements in court Tuesday which were read aloud by the Crown. They spoke of a continuing sadness, and anger, over what happened to their daughter.

Defence lawyer Sheldon Pinx told court his client could face deportation back to his native Pakistan if given a jail sentence. He presented several letters of support on behalf of his client, urging the judge to keep him out of custody.

www.mikeoncrime.com

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