'We did the right thing - we didn't want to die'

Last updated 00:18 05/10/2008

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The wife of the liquor store owner arrested after a fight with several youths outside his south Auckland business has slammed as "ridiculous" the police decision to charge her husband with two counts of injuring with intent.

"It's a really dumb idea to charge someone who is defending property or themselves," Gagandeer Kaur told Sunday News.

"We don't care what the police are saying we did the right thing. We (were) just protecting ourselves, we don't want to die."

Kaur's husband, Virender Singh, was stabbed in the leg in the Tuesday incident at his Gilbert Rd, Otara, discount liquor store.

His charges relate to injuries to two of the youths allegedly received, one of whom claims he had a swollen nose, mouth and damage to his teeth.

Police say a 15-year-old is also expected to be charged.

Singh, 40, appeared at Manukau District Court on Friday. He entered no plea and was remanded on bail.

Outside the court, he told Sunday News he was feeling "really embarrassed" about being charged.

But asked if he still thought he acted correctly, Singh said: "I did (the) right thing."

Earlier in the week, Singh told another newspaper he would fight charges as he was only defending himself after an intoxicated youth who he believed was shoplifting entered his store.

Mother-of-three Kaur said her husband had only a few seconds to think how to react in the incident.

"You don't have time to think about law and order, you just have to protect yourself," she said.

Kaur said she and her husband had been moved by the plight of Manurewa liquor store owner Navtej Singh, shot and killed in a robbery in June.

"He never defended himself ... and he still died. We need to stand on our feet," she said.

Kaur said her husband had received lots of support from the public and offers from lawyers offering to take on the case.

Sensible Sentencing Trust boss Garth McVicar said: "If people hesitate when confronted with a potential burglar, robbery or assault, then that could cost them their lives. The public must have the right to defend their castle."

But Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Pizzini said Singh's arrest and subsequent charging should serve as a reminder for people to use common sense in such situations.

"The law states that reasonable force and reasonable steps for shop owners in defending themselves, any other persons, or their property is acceptable," Pizzini said.

"Those that clearly exceed that force can expect to be arrested and held accountable before the criminal courts ... people need to use their commonsense."

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Meanwhile, west Auckland Lotto shop owner Shashikant Prema is in a stable condition in Auckland Hospital after being stabbed on Friday night.

Inspector Kay Lane said a man entered the shop in New Windsor Rd, Avondale, and attacked the 55-year-old. The alleged offender was arrested shortly after.


- Sunday News

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