Jail term for rioting would end teen’s Olympic boxing dream, court hears

SUSAN LAZARUK
VANCOUVER DESI

Aman Singh Aujla, Stanley Cup riot

Aman Singh Aujla, who pleaded guilty to smashing windows of a pizza joint and helping to trash unmarked police and fire vehicles in the June 20111 Stanley Cup riot, is shown on the right in a black T-shirt in this Vancouver Police Department photo. Submitted photo

The latest rioter to face sentencing is an Olympic boxing hopeful who argues he should be spared jail because it would cause him to miss qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Games, court heard on Thursday.

Aman Singh Aujla, who pleaded guilty to smashing windows of a pizza joint and helping trash unmarked police and fire vehicles, boxes as a cruiserweight amateur, his lawyer, Russel Chamberlain, told his sentencing hearing at Vancouver provincial court.

Chamberlain said even a weekend sentence would hurt his dreams to box for Canada in 2016 because Olympic selection bouts are normally held Friday evenings.

Crown is seeking a 45- to 60-day jail sentence and doesn’t oppose it being served intermittently, said prosecutor Patti Thomasson.

Judge James Bahen reserved his decision.

Thomasson played video showing Aujla, who turned 18 two weeks before the $4-million Stanley Cup riot on June 15, 2011, using a hockey stick to repeatedly smash the windows of MegaBite pizza on Nelson Avenue as two women who stood inches away ran screaming.

“It was clear Mr. Aujla didn’t care where he was or who was nearby,” she said, noting he high-fived other rioters after smashing the windows.

He was also shown flipping the police car and encouraging rioters to “move on to the next one,” referring to an unmarked car belonging to the Vancouver fire department.

Thomasson said sentencing for Aujla should fall in the middle range of previous sentences for rioters committing similar actions, ranging from a three-month conditional sentence order to 16 months in jail, because he committed multiple crimes.

Aujla, who attended court wearing a suit and was accompanied by his father, was charged with rioting, mischief and mischief causing over $5,000 in damages. He pleaded guilty to rioting and the other two charges are to be stayed.

His photo on the Vancouer police riot website generated 12 tips and when police first interviewed him, he exercised his right to remain silent, Thomasson said.

Aujla has no previous record but is awaiting trial on an assault charge in Surrey, which included possession of a weapon, a machete, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

He was also charged last year with breaching a bail condition that forbade him from consuming alcohol.

Aujla, who boxed in the Clash of the Cascades in Langley in January 2012, said in an address to the court that he “made a mistake and I am really sorry” for being “reckless.”

He said he’s now got a “great job” and has quit drinking.

“I, like, have everything on track now, I’m on the right track now,” he said.

slazaruk@theprovince.com
twitter.com/susanlazaruk

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