‘No justice for victim’

2014-12-09 00:00

THERE is no justice.

This was the outraged cry by family and supporters of murder victim Letisha Naidoo outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Naidoo was stabbed to death on November 20 and her body was flung into a sewer in Northdale. It was also alleged that she was raped.

Her family yesterday, however, dispelled earlier suggestions that she was pregnant at the time of her murder and said a postmortem has conclusively shown she was not expecting a baby.

Tears flowed and anger erupted when the community heard the prosecution had withdrawn charges against three juveniles accused of Naidoo’s rape and murder. They were charged along with her 23-year-old boyfriend, against whom the case is proceeding.

His name can’t be published until he has pleaded to the charge of rape.

But local attorney Nasen Naicker yesterday also withdrew as the man’s legal representative, saying he’d given him “too many” conflicting instructions.

Naidoo said at the man’s previous court appearance a week ago that he wanted to plead guilty and hoped to finalise the case quickly.

Yesterday, however, the accused said he now wants to apply for bail.

Bail is being opposed by the State and his case was postponed until January 9 for a formal bail application.

Meanwhile, the prosecution did not give reasons for withdrawing the charges against the juveniles.

However, sources told The Witness that investigations failed to uncover independent evidence linking the youngsters to Naidoo’s alleged rape and murder. The only evidence against them was allegedly a single statement implicating them in the crimes, which they denied committing.

However, community members who protested at court yesterday, wearing T-shirts with photographs of Naidoo, were furious.

“Our baby got no justice. This was a cold-blooded murder,” her aunt Premilla Naidoo said.

Tears flowed down the cheeks of another relative who said Naidoo deserved better. “She wasn’t just murdered. She was brutally tortured,” she said.

ANC councillor Rachel Soobiah, who joined the protests at court, said she will attend the accused’s bail hearing on January 9. “We are going to petition against bail,” she said.

DA MP Mergen Chetty said Pietermaritzburg communities had put aside their political differences yesterday when members of the ANC and DA united behind Naidoo’s family.

He said the community demanded justice, not only for Naidoo, but for all women and children who have been abused, raped and murdered. Chetty said courts need to send a strong message to perpetrators of these heinous crimes that there is “no place for cowards that abuse, rape and murder our women and children”.

This was by imposing the harshest sentences available. He said this would send a warning to culprits, and offer a message of hope to victims and their families.

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