Club murder accused walks

2015-02-07 00:00

RELIEF and joy at being acquitted of murder was clouded for “dance floor murder accused” ­Sherwin Cara (24) yesterday by the outrage of his alleged victim’s family.

Cara, members of his family and lawyers sneaked out of the Pietermaritzburg Regional Court via the court cells and a back entrance to avoid coming face to face with the furious and ­anguished members of Juran Raman’s family.

“We waited four years for justice. This isn’t ­justice … letting a murderer go free,” Raman’s distraught mother, Theresa, said wiping tears from her eyes after the hearing.

“I will never accept this. We will appeal,” she said of the judgment.

Emotional family members denounced the judgment saying it “wasn’t fair” and had destroyed their faith in the justice system.

Theresa Raman later accompanied state prosecutor Rene Padayachee to her offices to discuss the possibility of a state appeal against the judgment.

Raman (20), a talented cricketer, died of a deep wound that penetrated his neck at Vacca Matta nightclub at the Golden Horse casino on the night of March 26, 2011.

A specialist surgeon, Andrew Tudor, who’d tried to save Raman’s life, said the eight-centimetre wound went “almost to the spine at the back of the neck”.

He had believed it was “highly improbable” the wound could have been caused by falling on shards of broken glass as suggested by the defence.

But to counter that evidence, defence advocate Gideon Scheltema, SC, led testimony by specialist forensic pathologist Reggie Perumal who said in his view Raman’s injuries could have been ­sustained in that manner.

In her judgment, regional magistrate Fikile ­Luvuno said the court had to give the accused the benefit of any reasonable doubt.

She said all the witnesses who testified in the trial gave different versions about what happened.

One state witness, off-duty policeman Jason ­Pillay, had testified that he saw Cara “piercing” Raman’s neck with a broken glass. But neither he nor other witnesses could explain how Raman sustained three other wounds on his face.

Cara testified that he didn’t know how Raman was injured. He said Raman had “lunged” at him and caused his whisky glass to shatter on the floor.

He saw Raman stumble and fall and when he was being helped up he saw blood spurting from his neck.

After the not guilty verdict, Raman’s family walked out of court in disbelief, while Cara’s mother Cathy wiped tears of relief from her eyes.

She told Weekend Witness she was “happy but also sad” for Raman’s family.

Cara said he associated himself with a statement by his attorney, Kameel Jagernath, who said Cara and the entire defence team empathised with ­Raman’s family.

“His [Cara’s] acquittal is obviously not the outcome that they would have welcomed since it does not give them any closure in so far as who caused the deceased [Raman’s] death. His death … was indeed a tragedy,” he said.

That said, he added Cara was “definitely ­relieved” that he had been vindicated and his long ordeal was over. “Our client’s faith in the justice system has been re-affirmed.”

Cara said he was very grateful to his legal team and is happy to be able to resume his life.

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