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Last Updated: Friday, 18 March, 2005, 18:32 GMT
Where now for the Air India probe?
Wreckage of Air India Flight 182
A Canadian judge has found two Canadian Sikhs not guilty over the bombing of an Air India jet almost 20 years ago.

Flight 182 blew up in mid-air over the Atlantic Ocean off the Irish coast in 1985 while it was travelling from Canada to India, killing 329 people.

The case has been one of the most complex and lengthy in Canadian history. There have been allegations that some of the evidence was lost or destroyed and that two potential witnesses were murdered.

Where do you think the investigation into the crash will head now? Do you think those responsible for the bombing will ever be brought to justice? Send us your comments.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion received so far:

Shame on the Canadian judicial system
Rita Loewen, Calgary, Canada
Twenty years after the fact and millions of dollars gone. My sympathies to those who lost loved ones in the crash. Sadly, it seems obvious that Canada is not capable of resolving this tragedy regardless of how much time or money they spend. As unsettling as it must be for the friends and families of the victims, I highly doubt that they will ever have closure. Shame on the Canadian judicial system!
Rita Loewen, Calgary, Canada

It's not a shame that they are not guilty. It's a greater shame that the investigators could not find and pin down the real culprits.
Rahul Swaminathan, Bombay, India

It took 20 years and how many millions in costs to find out nothing. Typically Canadian
Steve Jelly, Toronto Canada

A sad commentary on the state of the Canadian judicial system - where victim's rights are consistently second to those of the alleged criminals. Even upon conviction those charged with the most vile of crimes are too frequently extended leniency in sentencing.
Jason Lundquist, Toronto, Canada

I don't known the case very well, but I find it funny to read what some Americans have to says about our justice system. Remember O.J. Simpson? Ever heard about the Michael Jackson Show? We are serious here; we are looking for proof, not for someone to hang.
Sebastien Giroux, Quebec, Canada

No jury in a mass murder trial? What kind of justice system is that?
Ray, Milwaukee USA

There must now be a public enquiry into this crime. The Canadian government owes this to the bereaved families.
Arthur Harrison, Victoria, BC, Canada

Perhaps the problem was in the very international investigation team that collected the evidence?
Chris Durkin, Toronto, Ontario
Those people who claim that this is a "failure" of the Canadian legal system, should take the time to review this case thoroughly before making conclusions about our legal system. The truth is that those of us in Canada who have followed this case know that a guilty verdict was never a given. There were clear problems with the witnesses and their credibility. I for one am happy that we avoided a vengeful court decision. The men on trial's guilt was never proven beyond a clear doubt. Perhaps the problem was in the very international investigation team that collected the evidence?
Chris Durkin, Toronto, Ontario

As an Indo-Canadian I feel a little annoyed at our intelligence community CSIS and RCMP. After spending over a $100m, all they could do was to catch two men, who later turned out to be innocent of the crime. I disagree with the comments of some people here who make apparent their disappointment of the judgment. They are technically innocent until proven guilty. They were never guilty to begin with. Do we want justice to vengeance by convicting two innocent men whose innocence has been proven in the court of law?
Ramesh, Toronto, Canada

"Justice" is the ability to judge innocence or guilt and not the act of charging people brought in to the courtroom. If the latter was the case then we should just let the police arrest and sentence people in the same day, regardless of proof. Do those who think our legal system failed believe we would be better off in a police state?
Stephen, Vancouver, Canada

We can't lower the standard of proof, regardless of the severity of the crime or emotions surrounding it. The ruling is a result of the inability of the prosecution to prove guilt, there could be no other outcome.
Matthew Becker, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

I feel that the government of India needs to get involved in this case. They should have had a greater role in this matter. I am disappointed by the Canadian authorities, they bungled up the case, 20 years and all for what?
Daljeet, Mississauga, Canada

Just when I thought CSIS, the RCMP and the Canadian Justice System as a whole could not be more incompetent they prove me wrong. Not only will there be no justice for the victims' families, there is unlikely to be an inquiry, making more catastrophes like this very probable. It is impossible to be a proud Canadian today.
Travis Thomson, Montreal, Canada

The justice system is there for doing justice and not for vengeance
Kamaljeet S. Dogra, Orlando, Florida, USA
Those who decry the Canadian Justice System should realize that the justice system is there for doing justice and not for vengeance or "closure" the families of the victims may be seeking. While I, like rest of the world, sympathise with them I ask them to realise that possibility of punishing the not guilty is equally abhorrent as the crime was.
Kamaljeet S. Dogra, Orlando, Florida, USA

The "not-guilty" verdict in the Air India trial, coming as it did on the same day when Scott Peterson was given the death sentence in California, really leaves one wondering about the efficacy of the Canadian judicial system. It is not that a guilty verdict would have brought back the 331 people back to life. At least it would have helped send the right message across that there is some justice in this modern world after all.
Kamal Varadarajan, Troy, NY- USA

I am impressed that so many have managed to read and digest a 537-page judgment in just a couple of hours.
Kevin Sheerstone, Sorrento, BC, Canada

I am totally disgusted with the length of time and amount of money spent with absolutely no results
Graham Doel, Alberta Canada
I am totally disgusted with the length of time and amount of money spent with absolutely no results. Guilt or innocence does not seem to be the issue. The legal system was not satisfied with the evidence.
Graham Doel, Alberta Canada

As shocked as I am, I must still praise the Canadian judicial system and the judge for having the courage to hand down a not guilty verdict. This case is emotional that he must have known a not guilty verdict would have caused much public outcry. I am disappointed in the outcome, but I stand relieved that we do not punish people simply because the public wants justice. My heart goes out to the family of the many victims but my faith remains with our judicial system. I would have liked to see someone punished for this crime, but I am thankful I live in a country where all people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law; regardless of race, sex, or religion.
Terri Chu, Toronto, Canada

Although I can't comment on the decision of the judge, I do think as a Canadian, that Canada must take a tougher stance on terrorism. For Canada to think that they are not vulnerable is an illusion. Canada is no less vulnerable to terrorism than any other western country. The tragic episode of the Air India bombing is a good indication to that.
Jason Feinstat, Toronto, Canada

Where does this verdict leave us as Canadians and our stance on terrorism?
Colum Grove-White, Victoria, BC, Canada
Canada has to start raising some serious questions about its justice system; something has gone wrong here whether these men are guilty or not. Nations like the US say that Canada does not have a tough enough stance on terrorism. It's situations like this that may end up proving them right. Where does this verdict leave us as Canadians and our stance on terrorism?
Colum Grove-White, Victoria, BC, Canada

No matter what the police say, no matter what the Prime Minister of Canada says, the fact is 329 innocent people have died and nobody will ever be punished for these gruesome killings.
Rakesh, New Delhi, India

What ever happened to innocent until proved guilty? Most comments so far seem to imply that the defendants were guilty and either the judicial system or enforcement agencies were at fault. Has anybody considered the fact that maybe the wrong people were implicated in the first place. After all they were defendants in this case and the whole purpose of the trial was to see whether they were guilty or not. Now that it is established they were innocent, people should think about the people who were killed and their families. We should not forget that two innocent men have been remanded in custody throughout this time as well as their families.
Chan Singh, Birmingham England

So after 20 some years, who is responsible for this tragedy?
Kishore Akkina, Phoenix, USA

I am sorry to say but the Canadian justice system has failed the victims' families. We need to take a tip from the Lockerbie trial.
Praful Lobo, Canada

I'm taken aback by so many people calling the Canadian justice system a mockery of justice
Keith, Ottawa, Canada
I'm taken aback by so many people calling the Canadian justice system a mockery of justice and assuming these two men are guilty after a judge has found them not guilty! Yes, a lynching would have been quicker but that's not the kind of country I want to live in.
Keith, Ottawa, Canada

Even before the two bombings CSIS and the RCMP had botched their investigations into Sikh extremist activity in BC. Since then they've deleted hundreds of hours of wire tap evidence and failed to protect two witnesses, one of whom was already confined to a wheel chair following an earlier attempt on his life by suspected extremists. The witnesses that did come forward had given earlier contradictory testimony and, perhaps even more damning, were being paid for their testimony. I'm frustrated by the verdict, but I think the judge had little choice in the situation. At best I hope the witness murders will be successfully prosecuted and a head or two rolls at CSIS and the RCMP so that this doesn't happen again.
Ben, Vancouver, Canada

This sort of incompetence gives rise to the conspiracy theory. It is but a small step for someone to ask "did the Canadian government really want to get to the truth?"
Raj, Oxford, UK

This is a true example of Canadian politicians and huge Sikh populations interlink which creates political and judiciary corruption and collapse. It is completely wrong that a developed and advanced country such Canada takes two decades to carry out an investigation and then finally be proved not guilty. Even poor and desperate homeless do not believe it.
Mayalu Keti, British Columbia, Canada

I am sure the outcome of the verdict would have been different and much earlier, had it been a American or a European airline
Giridhar Natarajan, India

It's ridiculous to have a trial run for twenty years and at the end see the guilty acquitted for insufficient evidence. Why did it take so much time to investigate this case? I am sure the outcome of the verdict would have been different and much earlier, had it been a American or a European airline.
Giridhar Natarajan, Chennai, India

With the key witnesses being dead these men must walk free. The Sikh underground is very effective as this trial supports. Like many of cases against Sikhs we may never know the truth. But now the families must go on and find their closure in another way.
Anonymous, Bangkok

I am overjoyed at this news, for years the entire Sikh nation has been made to feel guilty about a crime they never committed. Will the media now carry out fair reporting and drop people who carried out anti-Sikh reporting for many years? The victims of the Air India crash deserve better.
Davinder Singh, London, UK

As a Canadian I am ashamed that the utter incompetence of the Canadian law enforcement agencies who handled this case both allowed the incident to occur and then failed to bring the culprits to justice.
Jeff Fairless, Ottawa, Canada

I cannot believe it has taken 20 years to get to this. Either the wrong men were arrested, or the Canadian authorities were completely useless at building a strong enough case to convict. This should have been resolved a decade ago; now the families have to go on suffering.
Shannon, Ottawa, Canada

We may never know the truth about who murdered these men, women and children
L Heselgrave, Toronto, Canada

I was at the airport the night the Air India plane left and recall the glorious colours of the saris and the glittering gold of jewellery. I remember thinking how beautiful the women looked. When we arrived in Europe, we learned that they were all dead. For 18 years, we followed the investigation and then the two year trial. Obviously, there is something wrong with the justice system and we may never know the truth about who murdered these men, women and children.
L Heselgrave, Toronto, Canada

Wow! What a shock, everything we heard and read led us to believe they had the correct people in custody. The well-respected judge decided otherwise based on the evidence provided. I feel sorry for all families and individuals involved.
Colin Booth, Vancouver Canada

I feel more sorry for the victims' families now. To have all this brought up again 20 years later, and still not have closure - it must feel like 1985 all over again. This is another classic case of our useless justice system
Rob, Toronto, Canada

It took a lot of courage for this judge to acquit these men but he could hardly in good faith do otherwise, given the weak case against both of them. It shows strength, not weakness, in our judicial system. Those looking for someone to blame should look into the scandalous destruction of evidence, not the judicial system.
Doug Collinge, Victoria, Canada

I am deeply ashamed that after 20 years of anguish and countless millions of dollars, this is all we have to give the victim's families.
Robert, Montreal, Canada

This is a slap on the face of the victims' families who have waited so long in pain for justice and now it turned out to be just a farce... I have lost complete faith in the Canadian justice system.
Andy Kumar, PA, USA

The verdict in this case makes a mockery of Canadian justice. If the law enforcement authorities in Canada would have pursued this case with as much zeal as their counterparts in USA, who tracked down the culprits of the Pan Am jet, we would not be here to witness this sad state of affairs. I feel very sad and sorry for the relatives of those who died needlessly on this flight in 1985.
Eddy, Davis, USA

The Canadian police have clearly failed in their efforts
Nagarajan, Rolla, USA
The Canadian police have clearly failed in their efforts. I wonder what would be the feelings of the relatives and friends of the victims? Maybe, more investigation should have been done. Clearly, it has disappointed me in that no one has been punished for this cruel act.
Nagarajan, Rolla, USA

As an Indo-Canadian I feel sorry for the innocent lives lost. I'm extremely disappointed that it took 20 years for the crown and police agencies to bring this to court... and the amount of money spent on this case is lot... And now it seems that the government may not appeal or launch a public enquiry.
Senthil Kumar, Canada

There is one important question that remains. Who blew the plane up? Will they ever be found? Canada's worst mass murder still remains unsolved, after almost 20 years.
Sai Vemulakonda, Toronto, Canada

The whole case was a conspiracy against the alleged Sikh suspects by the Indian government and its agents. Justice has prevailed in the end. However, nothing can reduce the pain inflicted on the victims' families.
Toofan Singh, USA

This is absolutely disgraceful and entire Canadian judicial system has to go on trial.
Michael, Montreal, Canada

I can't say where the probe should go next, but it is certainly nice to see the word Sikh, pictures of turbans and beards and the headlines "Not Guilty". As a Sikh, let me say that if someone claiming to be a Sikh is ever found guilty of this crime, they are unquestionably not a Sikh. This simple fact seems to always escape the media as they throw around the word Sikh, as if it was a ethnic label, not the egalitarian, peace-promoting religion that it is.
Hari Singh Khalsa, Espanola, NM, USA


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