Howick Falls wife-stabber to know his fate today

2009-08-17 00:00

THE fate of Pietermaritzburg father of two, Jaiseelan Govindsamy, who stabbed his wife, Anthea, to death at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007, will be decided by Judge Esther Steyn and her assessors today when judgment is delivered in the high court, Pietermaritzburg.

State advocate Dheelan Naidoo submitted in legal argument last week that Govindsamy was an “untruthful and unimpressive witness”, that Anthea’s murder was premeditated, and he urged the court to reject Govindsamy’s defence that he was incapable of controlling his actions on the day in question.

Govindsamy’s lawyer, Kevin Chetty, submitted that the state has failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Govindsamy is guilty of murder.

He suggested that the three eye witnesses to the stabbing — Geraldine Govindsamy, Candice Christian and Nadia Maree — were privy to each others’ versions before testifying and that they “colluded” to come up with similar stories of what happened.

He was asked by the judge whether this was a fair argument in view of the fact that none of the witnesses was challenged on this point in cross examination.

Chetty said Geraldine’s version, that Govindsamy threatened to give her a “taste” of what was to come before stabbing her twice while she struggled to get the knife away from him, was improbable.

He said neither of her sisters heard this threat.

He also suggested that it was “odd” that they would choose to grab Jaiseelan and Anthea’s two children to prevent them seeing what was happening rather than go to the aid of their sister if she was involved in a “life and death” struggle with Govindsamy.

Chetty submitted that Geraldine’s various explanations as to why she did not tell police that she was injured, including that she was traumatised and felt she deserved to be stabbed because she’d behaved “like a mad woman” were “excuses”.

He urged the court to accept the evidence of clinical psychologist Lingum Pillay that Govindsamy’s action was involuntary and the result of emotional stress coupled with the effects of cocaine and alcohol.

Naidoo, however, urged the court to accept the testimony of three doctors — Bertie Lind, Neville Raymond and Dan Moodley — that Govindsamy could appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions when he stabbed his wife.

He said they were “objective and impressive witnesses”.

Naidoo said Govindsamy’s evidence was “fraught with improbabilities of such a high degree it could be said to be “quite ridiculous”.

He said Govindsamy could not comment when challenged about his apparent “convenient periods of amnesia”, the fact that if he’d had as much alcohol and drugs as he claimed he would not have been able to function, and the differences between his description of the stabbing and those of the other state witnesses.

He also could not explain what caused his “rage and anger” before the stabbing.

Naidoo said Geraldine, Candice and Nadia gave their evidence in a “clear, honest and forthright manner” and were reliable.

He said Geraldine’s evidence that Govindsamy threatened her and Anthea some time before Christmas 2006 was “vital” to the case.

Govindsamy said that he would kill Anthea and “come back” for Geraldine. “The events on March 25, 2007 are reminiscent of this sinister promise, as the accused, while attacking Geraldine, had said he was not there for her, but for [Anthea] and that her day would come,” said Naidoo.

While stabbing Anthea, Govindsamy said that if he could not have her no one else would.

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