21 May 2010

Convicted Navtej Singh robber offended on bail

3:48 pm on 21 May 2010

One of the men who took part in an aggravated robbery during which a south Auckland liquor store owner was killed committed another armed crime while on bail awaiting trial for murder.

Tino Felise was acquitted of killing Navtej Singh but convicted of aggravated robbery.

He was jailed for five years earlier this month.

It can now be revealed that when he was on bail last year, he stole a car while armed with a gun and led the police on a high-speed chase through south Auckland.

He was sentenced on Thursday to a further nine months in jail for that incident.

Discussion document

The news comes as Justice Minister Simon Power announced consultation this year on reforming bail laws.

His office said on Friday a discussion document will be put out in the next seven months on the bail laws, with resulting legislative change possible before the next election.

People will be asked for their views on a range of issues, including the monitoring of electronic bail and offenders' compliance with bail conditions.

Calls for tougher bail rules

A spokesperson for Navtej Singh's family, Daljit Singh, says the Government needs to protect the public and not give violent offenders the opportunity, via bail, to commit further crimes.

Manukau City Councillor Daniel Newman also thinks the Government should toughen up bail laws.

He says it must be ensured that when people enter the justice system they are treated appropriately - and in many circumstances that means they need to be remanded in custody rather than being freed on bail.

Brad Morrissey's two-year old daughter Aaliyah was killed in 2005 by Michael Curren while Curren was on bail for the murder of Natasha Hayden.

He says it is outrageous that people are given bail when serious charges are pending.

Mr Morrissey says the longer it takes to change the bail legislation, the more victims there will be.

However criminologist Gabrielle Maxwell, of the Institute of Policy Studies, says judges are making measured decisions about bailing accused criminals, based on risk.

She says many people are bailed quite safely, and it must be remembered that some will be found not guilty.