Ten years after the “callous” and gut-wrenching murder of a Kiwi-Indian liquor-store-owner Navtej Singh in Manurewa, Auckland, the pain has come back to grip the community, when NZ Herald revealed today that one of the accomplices involved in fateful murder was also charged early this year for another murder - this time of a teenager.
NZ Herald reported today that Myron Robert Alf Felise, 30, admitted assaulting 18-year-old Eli Francis Holtz at the intersection of Wellesley St and Queen St early on the morning of Saturday, January 27.
Myron Robert Alf Felise, in court Holtz. Photo / Greg Bowker (NZ Herald)
This is almost 10 years after, Myron Felise, accompanied six other men, in an aggravated robbery at a liquor store in Manurewa on the fateful night of June 7, 2008, resulting in the gut-wrenching murder of 30-year-old hard work liquor store owner Navtej Singh.
That time, Myron Felise escaped without held responsible for the murder and only being charged and found guilty for the aggravated robbery.
The trial court in Auckland had then found only one man, Chan Kee, out of a total six, who had barged in the shop together with the intention to rob, guilty of murder.
The other five, including Myron Robert Alf Felise, were found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
Myron Felise (right) at sentencing for their part in the robbery and death of Manurewa liquor store owner, Navtej Singh. NZME photograph
It is important to note that - the tragic saga of Navtej Singh, along with Arun Kumar, another dairy store owner who was murdered in West Auckland, by a similar set of fun-seeking, opportunistic teenagers - had permanently etched into the memories of the Kiwi-Indian community.
A question mark on the criminal justice system
Kharag Singh, a Sikh community leader, and owner of a similar small business that has experienced violent aggravated attacks in the past expressed frustration with the news.
“It is indeed a painful reminder to our community about the fateful incident and tragic death of a young, hard-working store-owner,” Mr Singh said.
“I want to ask how many lives are we prepared to lose before we can fix our criminal justice system.”
“The fact that these opportunist criminals can go out of our justice system and kill others at their will is a big question mark on the system.
“In this case, we only know of two instances where this offender had gone out and killed somebody else. Who knows if there were more?
Sikh community leader Kharag Singh (Picture: Facebook)
“This is a major concern of many small business owners who are not sure about how our justice system will deal with these so-called young violent offenders,” Mr Singh said.
“Our shop owners live in a fear that these teenager offenders can go scot-free roaming around their workplaces, even if they get caught by police at the first place,” Mr Singh said.
This news accurately reflects concerns of our small business owners – the fear of offenders coming out of our justice system and re-offend,” said a visibly agitated Mr Singh.
The account of the death of Navtej Singh in 2008
Herald had published the account of the death of Navtej Singh and the prosecution process which ended in 2010
The night of his murder, Navtej Singh was busy working in his South Auckland liquor shop.
A few streets away his killer was running out of booze during a drinking and marijuana smoking session with friends in a garage.
Anitelea Chan Kee said he wanted the party to continue and hatched a plan to "do a liquor shop" with brothers Myron and Tino Felise, Jason Naseri, and cousins Eti Filoa and Walter McCarthy.
He asked for volunteers to join him.
Armed with a rifle, Chan Kee and the five others piled into two cars.
Navtej and his business partner Gurwinder Singh were watching the clock and looking forward to getting home to their families that night.
The group of looters barged the shop and ordered to hand over the cash. It was reported that Navtej was shot even when he was readily cooperating with the orders and handing over the cash to robbers.
Later, at the time of judgement in court, Navtej’s wife Harjinder Kaur told in her victim impact statement how the tragic death had made her numb, leaving her clueless how to raise her three daughters.