House fraudsters in last-minute bid to appeal against eviction

2011-12-16 00:00

FRAUD victim Rowena Pada­yachee’s fervent hope that her Bur­ger Street home would be returned to her by Christmas faded yesterday with news that the couple guilty of attempting to defraud her of ownership have lodged a last-minute application for leave to appeal their eviction.

On November 30 Judge Isaac Madondo ordered Dinesh Lutchman and Akashnee Singh — and anyone else occupying the property through them — to vacate the premises by yesterday.

An application for leave to appeal the ruling was lodged with the high court on December 13.

Padayachee’s lawyer, Udesh Vather, said yesterday Singh and Lutchman were clearly abusing the legal system as Judge Madondo had found they had no defence to offer in respect of the application for their eviction.

He was expecting to file a response to the application for leave to appeal urgently, he said.

Padayachee was speechless at the latest turn of events yesterday, shaking her head disbelievingly.

She said Singh and Lutchman had lived in her home rent free for the past seven years.

The dispute between them arose after Padayachee inherited the house from her mother and decided to have tenants on the property.

Singh and Lutchman rented the home, but they allegedly failed to pay rent and Padayachee gave them notice to vacate the premises.

According to evidence in their criminal trial, the couple presented fake documents to an attorney in a bid to take transfer of the house, which they said Padayachee had agreed to sell to them.

She denied she had ever done so.

In another twist to the tale, when the couple appeared before regional court magistrate Chris van Vuuren for their criminal case yesterday, they tried but failed to obtain yet another adjournment.

Van Vuuren found that they were abusing the court process.

He ordered the couple to proceed with the sentencing stage of the trial without an attorney representing them.

Their lawyer, Viren Naidoo, earlier withdrew, citing an “irretrievable breakdown in communication” between him and his clients.

Van Vuuren cited case law to support his finding that the case could proceed even though the couple were not represented.

He said the case had been adjourned no less than 14 times at the behest of the defence since August and that Lutchman and Singh had abused the leniency shown to them.

Subsequently, however, he agreed to adjourn the case until Monday so that the accused could call witnesses in mitigation of sentence.

Lutchman said they wanted to call two probation officers, his mother and a priest to give evidence for them.

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