A former Surrey high school teacher who murdered his wife and burned her body on a rural beach in Delta in an attempt to destroy the evidence has been granted day parole.
The Parole Board of Canada decided on July 25 to grant Mukhtiar Singh Panghali, 50, day parole for six months to a “community correctional centre/community based residential facility upon bed space availability.”
His “release destination” has not been disclosed.
The Cloverdale resident, who taught physics at Princess Margaret Secondary, was found guilty of second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body, following a trial in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster in 2010.
Justice Heather Holmes in January 2011 sentenced him to life in prison with no eligibility to apply for parole until after he’d served 11 years. He got four years credit for time served while awaiting trial, otherwise it would have been 15 years.
During the trial, Crown prosecutor Dennis Murray laid out the Crown’s theory that Panghali strangled his wife of nine years Manjit Panghali, 31, on Oct. 18, 2006 after she’d returned home from a prenatal yoga class, and then staged the discovery of her car in Whalley, burned her body on a remote beach along DeltaPort causeway in South Delta, and delayed for as long as he could to lodge a missing persons complaint with the Surrey RCMP.
Manjit, a teacher at North Ridge Elementary, was four months pregnant at the time, and the couple’s daughter was three years old.
Had he not cheaped out by using his wife’s cellphone after killing her, or snuck out in the dead of night to a local store and then lied about it later, Panghali might have gotten away with murder. He lost an appeal of his conviction in 2012 and in 2014, Panghali’s in-laws successfully sued him on his daughter’s behalf.
Justice Robert Punnett, in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, ordered Mukhtiar Panghali to pay the plaintiffs $614,300, for past and future loss of dependency, past and future loss of household assistance and childcare, loss of guidance, public guardian and trustee fees, interest, court and other costs.
Panghali’s day parole conditions include not using alcohol or drugs, to follow a treatment plan, to report all relationships to his parole supervisor, and to have “no direct or indirect contact with the biological family members of the victim including the victim’s biological daughter” unless he has prior written permission from his parole supervisor.
The document indicates Panghali has already been on eight unescorted temporary absences, for nine hours each time, to spend time with family members.
It says his statistical information on recidivism score of 17 indicates four of five offenders “will not commit an indictable offence after release.”
“Your risk for future offending, according to the most recent psychological risk assessment, relies primarily within the area of intimate partner relationships,” the Parole Board of Canada document states. “As such all future relationships with females require ongoing monitoring to ensure risk remains manageable in the community.”
The document notes Panghali has participated in more than 50 escorted temporary absences for community service “without issue.”