Tension as accused killer appears in court

2014-01-11 00:00

DRAMATIC scenes played out around the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court yesterday when Rajen Kandasamy appeared for the second time for allegedly killing his wife and two high school-age children.

Community members packed the court gallery while others protested outside, most chanting outraged slogans and armed with placards demanding that Kandasamy (44) be given the maximum jail sentence. Some expressed anger that Kandasamy was being defended by a prominent community leader, Siven Samuel.

The protesters arrived early in the morning, and were later joined by political party members including the Minority Front and ANC.

Kandasamy is charged with the murders of his wife Mala (40), son Megandran (19) and daughter Melarisa (18), who had just completed matric and achieved seven distinctions.

The family were found bludgeoned to death at their Moorton home a fortnight ago. They were allegedly killed with a mace used in the worship of the Hindu deity Hanuman.

Their bloodied bodies were discovered by a relative after the family failed to appear at a memorial service.

The accused’s lawyer, Siven Samuel, asked magistrate Leon Nielsen to allow his client to undergo a mental assessment — and that he be held in isolation at Westville prison as he might be “a danger to himself”.

Nielsen remanded the bail hearing to January 14, and ordered that a psychologist be given access to Kandasamy.

Samuel — who also is the chairperson of Chatsworth Care Centre — told Weekend Witness he understood the potent emotions generated by the crime, but called for calm. “I have told the community leaders that it was good for the community to show outrage to what happened. But, first we need to understand what led to this and why it happened. We need to be in the forefront to avoid domestic violence,” Samuel said.

Community leader Omie Nair said residents were “shocked” to see Kandasamy being represented by Samuel as Samuel was a well-known community activist whose organisation fought against the abuse of women and children.

“How can he defend the rights of a person who took children’s right of life?” asked Nair. “We are not happy at all.”

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