Murder trial: State demands Sathar alibi tape

2008-11-12 00:00

The prosecution in the trial of Mohamed Shoaib Sathar (21), on trial for the murder of his cousin, Safia Mahomed in September 2005, suggested yesterday that the hearing could “end prematurely” if the defence is willing to produce video footage that, it is claimed, will prove that Sathar could not have committed the crime.

The defence has declined to allow the court to view the footage. After considering legal argument yesterday, Judge Atkins Moleko ruled that the defence is not obliged to produce the tape. He said that if the evidence is correct, it could support Sathar’s alibi that he was at his father’s shop at the time of the murder.

Sathar’s father, Asgur Sathar, testified on Tuesday that police “would not listen” when he tried to tell them he had a CCTV tape that could prove his son had been at his business on the day of the murder — September 15, 2005.

Cross examining him about this evidence — which has been disputed by police witnesses — state advocate Dorian Paver demanded that Sathar produce the tape that he said he had given to his attorney, Viren Naidoo.

Sathar’s defence counsel, Gideon Scheltema SC, argued that it would be a violation of his client’s “constitutional right to remain silent” on the merits of the case, at a stage when the court is dealing with a trial within a trial.

The aim of the evidence is to determine if a pointing-out done by Sathar can be admitted as evidence. Sathar has alleged that he was assaulted to do the pointing-out at the murder scene, and claims he was shown where to point out one of the alleged murder weapons.

Asgur Sathar alleges that when police took his son away he did not know they would take him for a pointing out. He thought they would ask him questions at the police station. He denied he knew his son was being charged with murder.

Paver suggested that he realised that his son could have been involved in the murder when police indicated that the dogs had found blood on the clothing and shoes worn by the son on the day of the murder. The father denied this.

He also denied police testimony that he became “hysterical” at the scene, and was so angry with his son that he had pulled out a gun and threatened to take his own life.

Asgur Sathar said he had no contact with his son for “three or four days” after his arrest because he became afraid when he and his family received death threats and people were holding demonstrations outside his businesses. He said their attorney was threatened and “punches were thrown at him” at a court appearance.

Paver instructed Asgur Sathar several times to give direct answers to questions and he repeated a number of his questions several times.

The case is proceeding.

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