Verdict on Fridayin love triangle shooting

2013-03-19 00:00

THE Pietermaritzburg Regional Court will deliver its verdict on Friday in the trial of local businessman Larry Bhagwandin (39), who is charged with murdering Raymond Paul during an altercation arising from a love triangle in December 2010.

Bhagwandin (39), the owner of N & N New and Used Tyre Warehouse in Allandale, admitted he was involved in an extramarital affair with Paul’s wife, Kerusha, who was a manager at his company at the time. He said Paul (32) had found out about the affair two months earlier.

He testified that he believed Paul was going to kill him when he surprised him and Kerusha in an office on the day in question and attacked him with a “blade”. He said he sustained a cut on his neck.

In a statement to court, Bhagwandin said he pushed Paul out of the door and Paul fell on to an employee, Simphiwe Makhathini.

“As the deceased lunged at me again I took out my firearm and shot him,” he said.

After the shooting, Bhagwandin said, he called an ambulance and the police. He said he picked up the blade that Paul had used to attack him and later handed it to the police.

Regional court prosecutor Sabelo Tembe yesterday urged the court to reject Bhagwandin’s defence and to find him guilty of murder.

He submitted the testimony of state witnesses that Paul was retreating from Bhagwandin when he was shot, and said one of the witnesses testified that Paul had used him as a shield shortly before the shooting.

The state accepted that Paul went to the premises armed with a type of blade and that he had attacked Bhagwandin. However, the prosecutor submitted that when Bhagwandin fired the fatal shot his life was not in imminent danger.

Bhagwandin’s advocate, Gideon Scheltema SC, said the hard evidence before the court was consistent with Bhagwandin’s version of events.

Scheltema said Bhagwandin could consider himself fortunate that Paul had not “nicked his jugular” when he attacked him.

He said the post-mortem and photographs showed that Paul had been shot from the front, and this did not tally with the version of state witnesses who claimed he was running away.

“The probabilities indicate overwhelmingly that the deceased went to the accused’s premises that day to kill him. That is borne out by the blows directed at the most vulnerable area in his neck.”

Bhagwandin should be acquitted, said Scheltema.

• ingrido@witness.co.za

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