If Chan Kee did not know then of the pain caused by that shot, he would have been in no doubt after listening to Mr Singh’s widow, Harjinder Kaur, describe the impact it has had.
Ms Kaur told Chan Kee’s sentencing hearing in the High Court at Auckland her family were still struggling. Chan Kee was jailed for life, with a non-parole period of 17 years.
“Although it looks like we’re living our lives, in reality our lives have been destroyed. It’s as if I’m living my life as a dead person and there is so much pain in my heart.
“My life has been destroyed. All my dreams have been shattered.”
Ms Kaur wondered if Chan Kee “the shooter” knew what it meant to separate a husband from his wife, a father from his children and a son from his parents.
“He should have thought about that when he took away a life.”
Mr Singh was a hardworking man and a loving father. She said their three daughters, aged 7, 5, and 2, still asked where their daddy was as they stood in front of his picture.
The oldest child has asked her mother “why daddy got shot even though he was giving the money. Why did they shoot him?”
Ms Kaur tried to run the family liquor store after the murder but the children never wanted her to go there.
She told the court her grandfather died of shock the day after the killing when he heard the news, and her husband’s father, Nahar Singh, was so overcome with grief that he tried to kill himself by jumping from an overbridge. He fractured his limbs when he landed on the Southern Motorway.
The suicide attempt came after he watched a video of his son’s funeral service. Nahar Singh was not at the sentencing yesterday because he is in India.
After the shooting, Ms Kaur went to the scene. It left her feeling “numb” as if she was “going crazy”.
Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery argued for a minimum sentence of 17 years. He said it was hard to see how Chan Kee could have been more callous.
“Navtej Singh was doing what [Chan Kee] wanted. He deliberately pulled the trigger and killed him.”
Chan Kee’s lawyer, Jonathan Down, argued that he was not a “cold and callous killer” but a “young man who acted recklessly while he was intoxicated”.
But Justice Graham Lang said aspects of the killing were callous and being intoxicated was no excuse.
“You had a loaded firearm pointed at a defenceless person going about their business. For no reason that I can see you pulled the trigger.”
What weighed heavily against Chan Kee was the effect Navtej Singh’s death had on his family and friends. His workmate Gurwinder Singh, who witnessed the shooting, still had nightmares about it.
“He can’t stop thinking about the scene in that liquor store.”
Justice Lang said that while Chan Kee and his associates would serve jail terms, they would one day be released and would see their families again.
“Navtej Singh will not come back to his family or community … That puts the sentence you’re about to get into perspective.”
He said the destruction Chan Kee caused to human relationships could not be tolerated.
Chan Kee’s co-accused, Myron Felise, 22, Tino Felise, 21, Eti Filoa, 25, Walter McCarthy, 19, and Jason Naseri, 21, were all found not guilty of killing Mr Singh.
Tino Felise, Filoa and McCarthy were found guilty of aggravated robbery. Chan Kee, Myron Felise and Naseri had already pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery.
Myron Felise was sentenced to six years’ jail with a minimum non-parole period of three years, and Naseri to six years and four months, of which he must serve at least three years and two months.
Filoa was sentenced to four years and four months, McCarthy to two years and six months and Tino Felise to five years for their roles in the robbery.