Murder: boy (10) only eyewitness

2012-10-04 00:00

THE conviction of 20-year-old Erwin Ramsamuj for the murders of three people in Northdale last year hinges primarily on whether the court will accept the evidence of a 10-year-old boy who was the only eyewitness to the incident.

The victims included Ramsamuj’s former girlfriend, Merle Maistry, and her friends, Kubendhran “Jeffrey” Pillay and Musa Ndlovu, with whom she was socialising and drinking at the time.

While state advocate Roan du Preez yesterday urged acting Pietermaritzburg high court judge Jerome Ngwenya to accept the boy’s evidence as “credible and true” in light of all the surrounding evidence, defence advocate Brad Osborne urged the court to be extremely cautious about relying on the evidence of a single witness.

He said in the present case the court had to be particularly careful due to the boy’s tender age.

Osborne also urged the court to have regard to the fact that no gun residue was found on Ramsamuj’s hands, nor were his fingerprints found on the murder weapon — a 9mm pistol recovered at the murder scene.

Judgment in the case was postponed to December 20.

Ramsamuj pleaded not guilty earlier this year to the “execution-style” murders of the three victims who were found lying in pools of blood at 63 Larkspur Road in Northdale on the afternoon of May 18 (voting day) last year.

Each had been shot in the head at close range.

Ramsamuj claimed in evidence that he was not present when the victims were shot and claimed he was at Mike’s tavern at the time.

The boy testified that he had seen Ramsamuj cock his firearm, put the gun to Pillay’s head and then shoot. When the shot rang out, the boy ran away to his grandmother’s home and reported what had happened.

The only reasonable inference was that Ramsamuj had shot the other two victims immediately thereafter, Du Preez said.

He said the fact that Ramsamuj was prone to anger and violence when he did not get his way was shown by the evidence of another witness who had been in his company, and Maistry’s, prior to her being shot.

He had described how Ramsamuj had flung his beer bottle at a door after becoming annoyed, and had forcefully grabbed Maistry to get hold of her cellphone when she refused to give it to him.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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