Judge rejects Govindsamy’s claims, convicts him of wife’s murder

2009-08-18 00:00

THE prosecution has urged Judge Esther Steyn to sentence Pietermaritzburg father of two, Jaiseelan Govindsamy (41), to life imprisonment for the “vicious” murder of his wife, Anthea (35), whom he stabbed 19 times in the upper torso and face at Howick Falls on March 25, 2007.

The judge yesterday rejected Govindsamy’s defence that he was unable to control his actions, and found he was fully aware of what he was doing and acted with premeditation when he stabbed his wife to death in front of the couple’s two children.

The judge said Govindsamy was an unimpressive witness, and large parts of his testimony were “highly improbable and unconvincing”.

After the conviction, Govindsamy’s lawyer, Kevin Chetty, urged the court to find that Govindsamy had “dimi­nished responsibility” at the time of the stabbing, saying that his intoxication, as a result of a three-day binge on alcohol, escstasy and cocaine, “coloured his mind” at the time. He suggested that a sentence of around five years’ imprisonment would be just.

Chetty cited the history of the couple’s troubled relationship as providing compelling and substantial reasons not to impose the minimum prescribed term of life imprisonment for the murder.

He also pointed out that Govindsamy did not have a propensity to violence, and has a “close bond” with his two young sons whose future is in the balance.

But state advocate Dheelan Naidoo said there were a number of aggravating factors in the case, including the fact that this was a “savage attack” without any provocation by the victim.

Naidoo said Govindsamy stabbed his wife 19 times with the deliberate intention of killing her, and did so on a Sunday afternoon in a public place frequented by tourists and picnickers.

Evidence relayed that Govindsamy’s children saw “everything” and one son wet himself when gunshots went off (as warning shots were fired to distract Govindsamy).

He said the incident would be “indelibly etched” in the children’s me­mory, emphasising that one could only guess at the psychological effect on them, in addition to the removal of their mother’s nurturing and love.

Naidoo submitted that any intoxication had a “minimal” effect on Govindsamy’s actions that afternoon.

“This was a murder that was premeditated and viciously executed and not the product of an unstoppable rage,” he said.

Sentencing is expected today.

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