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Burnaby man accused of shooting sex worker in the back released on bail

Varinder Singh Deo, 42, has been charged with aggravated assault and several firearms offences in relation to May 2 shooting of 25-year-old woman
Police shut down a section of Dubois Street near Boundary Road to investigate the shooting of a 25-year-old woman on May 2.

A 42-year-old father of two accused of shooting a sex worker in the back outside his Burnaby home while his wife and daughters were inside has been released on strict conditions, including an ankle monitor and curfew, while awaiting trial.

Varinder Singh Deo has been charged with aggravated assault and various firearms offences in relation to the shooting of a 25-year-old woman near his house on Boundary Road by Dubois Street just after 4 a.m. on May 2.

According to information presented at a bail hearing Friday, it was Deo’s birthday, and he and an associate had been consuming alcohol and cocaine and called two sex workers.

The women were directed to meet the men in the garage behind his house.

“It’s alleged that Mr. Deo said to the workers that they didn’t look like their advertisements,” said B.C. provincial court Judge Patrick Doherty, summing up the Crown’s case. “There apparently was threats coming from the sex trade workers towards Mr. Deo. The sex trade workers then walked out of the garage. Mr. Deo, a short time after, followed them. He raised a handgun and pointed it in the direction where the sex trade workers were, which was probably at the end of the driveway onto the road, and fired one shot from his handgun.”

Doherty noted the events had been captured on Deo’s own home surveillance video later obtained by police.

But Doherty also noted Deo had given a detailed statement to police after he was arrested that night, telling officers he thought the women were there to rob him, that he didn’t know the gun was loaded and just wanted to scare them.

Crown prosecutor David Meagher argued Deo should not be released on bail, given the strength of the Crown’s case, the gravity of the offence and the fact Deo would go to prison for a significant amount of time if convicted.

But Deo’s lawyer, Donna Turko, argued Deo should be released on strict conditions, saying bail is a fundamental right, and there is potential even for Deo to be acquitted given that self-defence and true accident might still be proven at trial.

She further argued release was appropriate given Deo’s lack of a criminal record and the high likelihood the shooting was a “very one-off” situation.

While Doherty agreed with Meagher that the allegations against Deo were serious, he said he was convinced strict terms of release, including electronic  monitoring, were appropriate.

He noted there was no indication from Deo’s record, which includes only an impaired driving conviction from 2005, that he was “in any way a violent person.”

Doherty also noted Deo had strong family support, he was the sole provider for his wife and two daughters and a technical suitability report ordered by the court supported his release on strict conditions.

Doherty released Deo on a $20,000 surety from his brother.

As part of his release, he was ordered to get an electronic ankle monitor and to stay away from the two sex workers.

He has also been placed on a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew and ordered to surrender his passport.

The allegations against Deo have not be proven in court.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor