5 Oct 2008

Liquor store owner charged with assault

11:01 am on 5 October 2008

A South Auckland liquor store owner stabbed during a brawl has been charged with assault.

Virender Singh, 40, appeared at Manukau District Court on Friday to face two counts of assault with intent to injure. He was remanded on bail until 23 October.

Police allege Mr Singh injured two teenagers in the incident outside the Gilbert Road Liquor Store which involved the use of improvised weapons. They included a knife, hockey stick and fence paling.

Mr Singh was stabbed in the leg during the brawl in Franich Street, Otara, on Monday. His wife, nephew and another woman were also injured.

Police say they will also be laying serious charges against a 15-year-old involved in the fight.

Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Pizzini told Checkpoint on Friday that the charges against Mr Singh relate to two victims, with one receiving serious blunt force trauma to the head.

He says Mr Singh's arrest is a reminder that taking the law into your own hands cannot be justified.

"It's quite clear that the shop owner in this instance has clearly exceeded using force that would be reasonable to defend himself, another person or his property.

"And this serves as a reminder to anyone - shopkeepers or anyone else - that if you take the law into your own hands in some circumstances that just cannot be justified."

Retailers say reaction understandable

The Auckland Retailers Association says it's easy to see how Mr Singh got to the point of being charged with assault.

The northern regional manager for the Retailers Association, Russell Sinclair, says tension has been boiling over for months.

Mr Sinclair says he does not condone people taking the law into their own hands, but he can see how the situation came about in the heat of the moment.