Arson-accused was worth $4.2m

Last updated 13:16 30/11/2012
Auto Repair Centre

INVESTIGATION: A police officer leaves the Auto Repair Centre in Byron St, Sydenham, after it caught fire in September 2008.

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An auto repair shop co-owner accused of arson had a net worth of $4.2 million at the time of the fire, a jury has heard.

In the Christchurch District Court today, tax and business adviser John Robinson, who has handled matters for Kishor Singh for 17 years, gave evidence by video link from Gisborne.

The Crown has said the Auto Repair Centre was in financial difficulties when it burnt down in September 2008. The owners, 56-year-old Singh and his partner, Ajeshni Healey, 33, have been charged with arson.

However, Robinson told the trial Singh had income from his work as an air traffic controller and also had investments in two city properties worth about $1.3m.

He put Singh's total income in 2009 as $149,000.

Defence counsel Pip Hall has repeatedly challenged the Crown evidence about overdue rent, and unpaid bills and wages.

Hall asked Robinson to comment on the Crown's suggestion that towards the end of September 2008, when the fire occurred, Singh was in a state of "financial distress".

Robinson replied: "That would not be very logical if people knew what he was worth at the time."

He said he had never been approached by the police to find out about Singh's financial circumstances.

Today is the fifth day of the trial before Judge Alistair Garland and a jury. The trial is expected to end early next week.

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