Witness testifies in Yunus trial

2008-10-30 00:00

An Estcourt businessman who witnessed the shooting in which Estcourt mother Sarah Sathar was injured and her driver, Vinod Ramsarup, was killed in May 2007 said he was unable to see who the victims were because their bakkie had tinted windows.

The man accused of murder and attempted murder arising from the shooting, Mohamed Azeem Yunus (34) of Estcourt, has claimed in a statement that as the bakkie overtook his Toyota Verso vehicle, he saw Sathar pointing a silver handgun at him and believed she was going to shoot him.

Reacting in “self defence” he grabbed his firearm and fired at the bakkie until he could pass.

A surgeon who treated Sathar, Mohamed Gafoor, said she suffered about 12 wounds, but said he could not say which were entry wounds and which were exit wounds.

In her testimony, Sathar denied defence suggestions that she was armed or that she was shot from the front (while allegedly pointing a gun at Yunus).

Businessman Paul Henderson said he was driving behind the vehicles when the shooting happened.

The Verso was behind a truck and the bakkie was busy overtaking it when he saw an “arm going out of the window [of the Toyota] and shots were fired” at the bakkie.

“I immediately slowed down because I thought I was in danger. I noticed the bakkie slow down. The truck and the Toyota carried on,” he said.

He said the bakkie veered left and right and drove into the median where it hit a signpost before stopping. As he passed it he saw bullet holes in the window, but could not see inside as the windows were tinted.

Under cross examination by defence advocate Shane Mathews, Henderson said he did not give the bakkie a “fleeting glance”.

“I looked at it and thought, wow, this vehicle has been shot.” Henderson said he accelerated to get the Verso’s registration.

After noting the number he phoned an emergency centre. He also reported that the Verso turned off at Hidcote, and then stopped at Mooi Toll Plaza and told police and traffic officers there what had happened.

The case has now been postponed until July 27 next year.

Judge Achmat Jappie granted a defence application to relax Yunus’s bail conditions, which he agreed were “too restrictive”.

In terms of the new bail conditions Yunus will not have to remain under house arrest, or be restricted to times when he may attend mosque or his business.

However, he was warned not to communicate in any way with witnesses or the Sathar family.

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