Two men who burned a 21-year-old supermarket worker to death over his life savings have failed to have their convictions overturned.

Both also unsuccessfully appealed against their sentence of life imprisonment of 17 years.

Shivneel Kumar, 20, and Bryne Permal, 22, were sentenced in the High Court at Auckland in May last year over the death of Shalvin Prasad, whose smouldering body was found on a rural South Auckland road on the morning of January 31, 2013.

The Crown said during the trial, Prasad was assaulted at an unknown location and bundled into the boot of Permal's mother's car, driven by Kumar.


The defendants then bought 15 litres of petrol, using the stolen money, before driving to McRobbie Rd in Kingseat, where they doused the victim in petrol and set him alight.

During the trial, medical witnesses gave evidence that Prasad was conscious when the fire was ignited.

In a judgment released today, Justice Harrison said there was sufficient evidence Kumar and Permal had assaulted Prasad with intent to murder him before setting him alight.

"The cause of Mr Prasad's death was not contested.

"He died because one or both of Messrs Kumar and Permal set him alight.

"That fact was in itself compelling evidence of the parties' continues intention to kill him which originated in the unlawful act of rendering him deeply unconscious."

While Kumar and Permal were 18 and 19 respectively at the time of the murder, Justice Harrison agreed with the High Court judgment stating a discount of their sentence couldn't be expected because of their age.

"The judge was well placed to find there was nothing about the offending which might be attributed to the impetuosity or immaturity of youth.

"The crime was carefully planned and motivated by financial greed. Messrs Kumar and Permal set out to rob a vulnerable associate of his life's savings.

"Both were fully cognisant of their conduct and its consequences."

Both appeals against conviction and the minimum prison term were dismissed.