Sheila Reynolds-Surrey North Delta Leader
A convicted killer who was scheduled to go to trial this week in the murder of a Surrey man at a 2011 Christmas Eve party was recently found not guilty of the attempted murder of another man in Richmond.
Russell Bidesi, 24, is charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Bradley McPherson in Surrey. His trial for the McPherson murder was to begin Monday (Aug. 17), but was delayed when Bidesi’s defence lawyer withdrew.
Court documents indicate late last month Bidesi was found not guilty of attempted murder and convicted of a lesser charge in a Richmond case where he was accused of shooting another man in the chin.
In a July 24 B.C. Supreme Court decision, Bidesi was found guilty of attempting to cause bodily harm and was sentenced the following week to two-and-a-half years in prison.
It was early morning Nov. 20, 2011 – just over a month before McPherson was shot – that Bidesi and Harpreet Sandhu were at a hotel party in Richmond. Court heard that while they had a “cordial” relationship, the two got into an argument outside that turned into a brief altercation. One of Bidesi’s friend’s punched Sandhu and another pulled out a gun and waved it around.
Moments later, a cab pulled up and when Sandhu and his friends went to take it, Bidesi ran towards the taxi, carrying his friend’s gun. There was an argument and Bidesi pointed it at Sandhu. The gun fired, hitting him in the chin.
Bidesi argued he pulled the gun only to intimidate Sandhu and that it fired accidentally – a defence the judge did not buy.
But while Justice Barbara Fisher found the shooting was intentional, she said there were aspects of the evidence that raised doubts that Bidesi intended to kill Sandhu, resulting in the bodily harm conviction rather than attempted murder.
Crown recommended a 30-month sentence, while defence lawyer Darcy Lawrence sought an 18-month prison term.
“The Crown’s proposed sentence of 30 months is reasonable,” said Fisher in her reasons. “If Mr. Bidesi were being sentenced to the completed offence, I would consider a sentence at least in the three‑ to four‑year range. A sentence of 30 months … properly takes into account the nature of this offence as an attempt, in light of the serious circumstances in which it was committed.”
In May, Bidesi was also found guilty of manslaughter in another separate case where a 31-year-old Surrey man was shot to death.
Kacey Rogers was gunned down through the window of his home in 2012 during a home invasion. Bidesi was initially charged with second-degree murder in Rogers’ death, but convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in that case on Sept. 17.
His next court date in connection to the McPherson murder is Sept. 3, to fix a new trial date. Lawrence was initially going to defend Bidesi in that case as well, but said Monday he had to back out for ethical and professional reasons.
Bidesi has been in custody since February 2012.