WARNING: This article contains details of spousal and child abuse.
After being arrested numerous times for assaulting his wife, not complying with court orders and disregarding divorce proceedings, a Victoria-based doctor has had a Canada-wide warrant issued for him.
Dr. Sujay Ishwarlall filed for divorce, division of property and parenting rights in 2020 and his wife, Shresta Ishwarlall counterfiled soon after.
Since the initial filing, the doctor has shown little-to-no compliance with court proceedings regarding the divorce and is now thought to have fled the country to seek refuge in South Africa.
The doctor and his wife both moved to Canada from South Africa in 2011 with their son, who is now 14-years-old. Dr. Ishwarlall got a job as an anesthesiologist making around $500,000 annually.
Ms. Ishwarlall had to go to school to get a one-year certificate in order to work as a health unit clerk at the BC Cancer Agency in the Royal Jubilee Hospital. There, she made a mere $45,000 per year in earnings.
“Throughout the relationship, Dr. Ishwarlall was physically, emotionally, and financially violent toward Ms. Ishwarlall,” said the Honourable Madam Justice Murray in a Supreme Court of British Columbia judgment report.
“He has twice been charged criminally with assaulting her.”
His abuse of his wife and son
In his first domestic abuse arrest, the doctor attacked his wife while on vacation. He became angry and headbutted her. Then, he dragged her around on the floor and shut her toe in a door.
Eventually Ms. Ishwarlall escaped and had an employee of their accommodation call the police. She had to be hospitalized for her injuries and he was arrested.
His punishment was to undergo counseling and attend anger management sessions of which he did not go to all sessions.
“The counseling did not seem to have any impact. Dr. Ishwarlall continued to be physically, verbally, and mentally abusive toward Ms. Ishwarlall and [their son],” said Justice Murray.
“One thing did change after the New Zealand incident however, Dr. Ishwarlall was careful to not leave telltale signs of his abusive conduct.”
During the pandemic, all three family members were home more often and the abuse escalated to a daily occurance.
In June, 2020, the couple’s son begged his mother to leave Dr. Ishwarlall. He told his mother if she didn’t he would run away because he “could not take the abuse any longer.”
Ms. Ishwarlall asked her husband to leave their home, but he refused stating that it was his money that bought their condo, and it was his by right.
He eventually did leave the family home in July 2020, but called Ms. Ishwarlall periodically to berate her.
In November 2020, he was dropping their son off after school at the condo and came in uninvited. He became infuriated at Ms. Ishwarlall for not speaking to him and he grabbed her by the hair, yelled at her and spit in her face. Their son, once again, saw and heard everything.
This incident was the second domestic assault the doctor was charged with.
He was put on a peace bond for this incident, which is similar to being on probation. He had to attend counseling and couldn’t have any contact with his wife or son.
Ms. Ishwarlall had no spousal child support from her separated husband, but she had two credit cards that they had informally agreed could be used for living expenses.
Dr. Ishwarlall manipulated these cards to leave very little credit for his wife and child.
He made close to $500,000 per year and he was unwilling to provide her with money for their son, when she made only around $45,000.
He was made to start providing them with money by a court order, but only provided three months’ child support and made no payments of spousal support.
With regards to the divorce proceedings, Dr. Ishwarlall has shown time and time again that he is non-compliant with court orders and proceedings and thus has had a Canada-wide warrant issued accordingly.
“There is no doubt that Dr. Ishwarlall has left the country and is in South Africa,” said Justice Murray. “BC medical records demonstrate that he has not worked in BC for months.”
“His Facebook page shows him in South Africa. He has divested himself of all of his belongings.”
“He sold his motorcycle and car. He has sold investments and cleared out and closed bank accounts. He cancelled utilities at the family home. He has left Ms. Ishwarlall and [his son] financially destitute.”
Because of this, Justice Murray decided that Ms. Ishwarlall deserved to feel stable and safe while she cares for her son, and awarded them the family condo in Victoria.
“Dr. Ishwarlall shall remain personally liable for any outstanding debts or liabilities charged against the Family Home, as at the date of this order, or incurred by him after the date of this order with respect to the Family Home,” said Justice Murray.
The judge also decided that Dr. Ishwarall will owe $107,474 for missed child support payments, $30,000 for special costs for their son, $393,596 for spousal support, $4,210 for the the cost of parenting child reports during the proceedings and $33,803 for one of their homes in Burnaby.
In addition to this, all vehicles are being transferred to Ms. Ishwarlall’s possession as well as all household items and property.
For breaching so many court orders, the doctor is to pay Ms. Ishwarlall an additional $30,000.
In total, the doctor owes her more than $560,000 and he still has a warrant issued for him cross-country.