Accused denies he stabbed victim

2013-11-05 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S “dancefloor” murder accused Sherwin Cara (24) says his alleged murder victim Juran Raman (20) must have fallen on a piece of glass and cut himself on his neck because he didn’t stab him.

Testifying in his defence before regional court magistrate Fikile Luvuno yesterday, Cara said when he approached Raman about “pestering” his sister Melanie, on the dance floor at Vacca Matta nightclub in the early hours of March 26, 2011, Raman lunged at him, knocking his glass of whisky, ice and water, out of his hand.

Cara said he heard the glass fall and break and Raman “stumbled” and fell to the ground.

When he next saw Raman, he was being helped up by “some security guys” and there was “ blood squirting out of his neck”.

Cara said he bent to pick up a piece of glass to stop people stepping on it. A bouncer came up to him and took it away from him.

Defence advocate Gideon Scheltema SC closed the defence case after Cara’s testimony without calling any other witnesses to testify on Cara’s behalf.

Raman’s death at the nightclub at the Golden Horse Casino in the early hours of March 26, 2011, caused shock waves in the community. He had been hailed as an extremely talented cricketer.

Raman’s family and friends initially regularly held protests outside court to coincide with the case, wearing red T-shirts and carrying posters bearing the slogan; “Justice for Juran”. Family members still continue to wear the T-shirts.

His relatives, as well as those of Cara, were in court yesterday to hear Cara’s testimony.

Cara said he went to the Vacca Matta club that night with his sister Melanie and a friend, Preshane Tayob. While he was at the bar buying a drink he noticed Raman who appeared to be “very drunk” pestering his sister and there was an altercation between Raman and Tayob.

Cara said he couldn’t see clearly what was happening because the club was crowded but it appeared to him that Raman was “aggressive” and that the altercation was physical.

He took his drink from the bar and walked to the dance floor. “I asked the deceased [Raman] what’s going on? I told him ‘Man, that’s my sister. What do you want from her?’,” said Cara.

He said he told Raman to “leave it out”, meaning he should leave Melanie alone.

Raman then “lunged” at him hitting his hand and his whisky glass fell to the ground. Raman also fell.

Asked under cross examination by prosecutor Rene Padayachee why none of the state witnesses who testified in the case saw Raman falling or lying on the ground, Cara initially replied; “No comment”, but later on said the witnesses were “lying”.

When Padayachee said the majority of them were his friends and didn’t even know Raman, Cara replied that not all were friends. “A good friend would not come to court and lie,” he said.

Asked by Padayachee why an eye witness, Jason Pillay, who was admittedly Cara’s friend, had testified that he saw Cara stab Raman in his neck with a broken glass, Cara replied, “It beats me”.

Padayachee suggested to Cara that his version that Raman fell and cut himself was improbable, especially in view of Dr Andrew Tudor’s evidence that the stab wound in his neck was so deep that it almost reached the vertebra.

Cara said “drunk people are very heavy” and Raman could have fallen heavily on the glass.

The case was postponed to Thursday for closing arguments.

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