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A travesty of justice’

PUBLISHED: 18:28 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:51 23 August 2010

SENTENCE:  Telu Bajar speaks after the murder sentence is announced.

SENTENCE: Telu Bajar speaks after the murder sentence is announced.

THE family of a murdered Sikh taxi driver have branded the sentencing of the killer s mother and brother a travesty of justice . Annette Aujila, 42, of Dorchester Road, Gravesend, and Thomas Aujila, 26, of Gordon Road, Gravesend, walked free when they a

THE family of a murdered Sikh taxi driver have branded the sentencing of the killer's mother and brother a "travesty of justice".

Annette Aujila, 42, of Dorchester Road, Gravesend, and Thomas Aujila, 26, of Gordon Road, Gravesend, walked free when they appeared at Maidstone Crown Court on Friday.

Both were sentenced for perverting the course of justice after they disposed of a t-shirt Luke Aujila was wearing at the time he murdered taxi driver Gian Chand Bajar, 71, on May 23 last year.

They pleaded guilty at a hearing in October last year and were both given community service orders on Friday.

Speaking outside court, Mr Bajar's daughter, Sundeep, 30, said: "We are hugely disappointed with the sentence. It makes a mockery of the justice system.

"It clearly sends out the wrong message to criminals. How do they think we are feeling? It is a travesty of justice."

Telu Bajar added: "I think all three of them have been very lucky. Luke Aujila will be out when he is 40, I feel that could have been a lot higher.

"The mother and brother committed a serious crime in perverting the course of justice and they have got away with it by not going to jail."

The court heard how Annette Aujila first lied to police in interview about what Mr Aujila was wearing and what time he had come home on the night of the killing.

She then changed her story during a police interview on May 27, three days after her son Luke was arrested, and said she had washed the bloodstained t-shirt.

She said she gave the t-shirt to Thomas who took it to a clothing recycling bank in Lakeside Shopping Centre. He also dumped burnt items that Luke Aujila had taken from Mr Bajar's taxi in a skip in Lennox Road, Gravesend.

The court heard that when Thomas Aujila was interviewed on May 27, he told police straight away about what he had done and told them where they could find the t-shirt.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Andrew Patience said he would not send them to prison for the reason that the clothing was recovered and could still be used in evidence in the trial.

He said: "It was an act of folly. You have now besmirched your own good names and now have the utter shame and disgrace of being members of a family of a murderer.

"You should consider yourselves fortunate I have not sent you both to prison, because, in the event, what each of you did, did not adversely affect the proper prosecution of Luke Aujila for murder."

Mrs Aujila was told to carry out 200 hours of community service and Thomas Aujila was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended for two years, and placed under supervision for two years. He was also given 300 hours of unpaid community service and told to attend a Think First programme.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Atkinson, who led the police investigation, said: "Working with the CPS we felt it was important to bring this prosecution to send a clear message that people should not try to help offenders evade justice, no matter what loyalties they may have. If they do, they will be prosecuted and could face time in prison for their actions."

ed.riley@archant.co.uk

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