Relief as court denies bail to alleged family killer

2016-05-23 09:35

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Pietermaritzburg - Northdale resident Neville Naidoo (44), charged with murdering his brother-in-law and the attempted murder of his mother and sister, was denied bail on Friday.

Several relatives who attended the hearing hugged one another in apparent relief after the ruling.

Magistrate M. Boikhutso said the prosecution alleges that Naidoo had started a fight with his sister Natalie Singh on January 20 this year, and had grabbed her by her clothing. When his brother-in-law, Akesh Singh, tried to intervene, he allegedly swore at him and grabbed him by the throat. Naidoo’s mother Neela Naidoo thereafter succeeded in separating them.

It is alleged that Naidoo then fetched a firearm and shot his sister in both legs, as well as his mother, and shot and killed his brother-in-law. Naidoo then fled and went into hiding for a week, before handing himself over to police.

In an affidavit opposing Naidoo’s release on bail, the investigating officer alleged that Naidoo’s fiancée is a Russian national who left the country soon after the shooting. He said he feared that Naidoo might follow her and flee the country if released on bail. He was also concerned that Naidoo could intimidate witnesses, who are relatives.

Naidoo testified that he intends to plead not guilty. He told the court he was also assaulted and acted in self-defence when he shot Singh. He said his mother and sister had been struck by ricochetting bullets.

At the time, Naidoo had been living with his family while recovering from a hip replacement operation.

Naidoo denied that his fiancée — with whom he has a two-year-old child — has left South Africa, and said she was living with his aunt. He disputed she is a Russian national and produced her South African identity document.

He also told the court that he had gone into hiding after the shooting because he was in shock. “As he put it, he was feeling upside down,” said Boikhutso.

She said she took this to mean that he was feeling “mentally disturbed” at the time. However, he had thereafter handed himself over to the police.

Assessing whether it was in the interests of justice to release Naidoo, the magistrate said she took into account that there appeared to be a strong case against him based on the investigating officer’s affidavit, even though his guilt is a matter for the trial court to decide.

She also had regard to the fact that the main witnesses in the case were Naidoo’s relatives, who need to be protected. She found it was not in the interests of justice to grant him bail and ordered that he be held in custody.

The case was postponed to June 24 for further investigation.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime  |  court

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