Manilall murder accused to stand trial in May next year

2008-09-15 00:00

Howick businessman Sunesh Manilall (35), his wife, Mumtaz Osman (34) and Victor Mbatha (29), charged with the murder of Manilall’s late wife, Monika, in February 2006, will go on trial in the Pietermaritzburg High Court from May 11 to 22 next year.

The trio appeared briefly before Judge Thumba Pillay and an assessor in the Pietermaritzburg High Court yesterday in order for the trial to be adjourned.

The reason for the adjournment is that not all the legal representatives briefed by the accused were available this week.

Monika’s brother, Suren Ramjas, and other family members told The Witness they were bitterly disappointed that the case has again been postponed. They said that in their opinion, the accused had months to arrange for legal counsel.

“We need closure and now there is another long adjournment before the trial. It is unfair to the family,” said Suren.

Manilall and Osman are alleged to have masterminded the murder of Monika, who was shot dead in her home in Howick on February 3, 2006. Mbatha was allegedly a paid accomplice to the killing.

The motive for the murder of the victim was allegedly an extra-marital love affair between Manilall and Osman, who have since married under both Muslim and Hindu rites.

The couple are out on bail, but Mbatha is awaiting trial in custody.

Earlier this year, the gunman who shot Monika, Siyabonga Mdlalose, pleaded guilty to the murder charge and said in a statement he was one of three killers hired to murder Monika.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judge Ron McLaren.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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