Arishma Chand's murderer says minimum 19-year jail sentence is too harsh

4:08 pm on 31 July 2019

Arishma Chand's murderer has challenged his sentence in the Court of Appeal, arguing his minimum 19-year jail term is too harsh.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Ms Chand, a 24-year-old mother, was stabbed to death in her Manurewa home in the early hours of 12 November 2017.

It took a jury just 45 minutes to convict her ex-boyfriend Rohit Singh of her brutal murder, after a month-long trial in the High Court at Auckland.

Singh became infatuated with Ms Chand after a brief relationship with her; messaging her daily, physically stalking her and getting a photo of her face tattooed to his chest.

She ignored his advances for months before he stabbed her 26 times in the bedroom of her family home in Manurewa.

Ms Chand had called her parents minutes earlier, expressing concern someone was outside the house, and they arrived home to find their daughter dead.

Singh was jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 19 years on Valentine's Day, notably two years to the day he'd sent Ms Chand a bouquet of flowers.

Sentencing judge Justice Powell considered Singh's unlawful entry into the home and the brutality and callousness of the murder were aggravating factors in the case.

But this afternoon Singh's defence lawyer Mark Ryan told the Court of Appeal some aggravating factors in the case had been "double counted".

Singh dumped his clothes and showered after the murder before driving to the North Shore where he called police to report he'd been robbed.

Justice Powell considered his calm and calculated actions after the offending were an aggravating factor in the case at sentencing.

But Mr Ryan said his client's behaviour after the murder was not in the scope of factors that could be considered.

"[Rohit Singh] submits the judge erred in elevating the minimum non-parole period of 19 years because of actions that occurred after the offence."

Crown prosecutor Emma Hoskin said the sentencing judge hadn't erred in imposing a minimum term of 19 years, adding it was a period "amply supported" by other cases in the Court of Appeal.

"There is simply no basis for considering this sentence manifestly excessive."

This afternoon Justice Miller said it was "extraordinary" Singh maintained his fiction throughout the trial.

The 43-year-old gave evidence in his own defence at trial; admitting he was at the scene of the murder that night because he and Ms Chand were in a secret relationship.

He told the High Court the pair had organised to meet that night but instead found Ms Chand injured and she insisted he leave her so her father didn't discover they were a couple.

The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs