Victim’s family ‘happy’ as accused denied bail

2013-10-14 00:00

THE rights of victims of crime were highlighted when Pietermaritzburg regional court magistrate Bhekizitha Phoswa refused to grant bail to FET College murder accused Claudius Chetty (19) on Friday.

Phoswa ruled that Chetty had not shown his release would be in the interests of justice.

Chetty is charged with stabbing FET College student Rashmika Janthielayal (17) of Greytown 14 times, allegedly in full view of witnesses on the college’s Northdale campus on June 3 this year.

Chetty is pleading not guilty.

The investigating officer, Sergeant Sheldon Norman, told the court his main opposition to Chetty’s bail was a concern for the witnesses.

He testified that witnesses who’d made statements, and who are known to Chetty, have expressed their fear of him.

Looking at the evidence concerning Chetty’s allegedly “generally violent” behaviour, Phoswa said the court had to ask the question; “Who did he respect?”, and whether he would adhere to bail conditions if bail was granted.

According to Norman, prior to the murder Chetty had had “run-ins” with the victim and her parents, but he still would not stay away from her.

The court heard he had similar run-ins with other students and educators at the college.

Two or three days after he’d appeared in court for an alleged assault on his mother’s boyfriend, Chetty allegedly murdered Rashmika.

Phoswa said Norman further testified that after Chetty’s arrest on the murder charge, he’d seen him behaving aggressively and swearing at policemen.

Chetty’s attorney, Anand Pillay suggested that the police had “manhandled” and abused him, but he did not lay assault charges.

Friends and family of the murder victim were jubilant that her alleged killer is to remain behind bars and said their faith in the justice system had been restored by Phoswa’s ruling.

“We are very happy with the decision and we are thankful for the way that the investigating officer and prosecutor [Miriam Aboobaker] handled the bail application,” saidRashmika’s parents, Vicky and Shireen.

“We have been praying and fasting for this,” added Shireen.

In his judgment Phoswa said the prosecutor was right when she submitted that the administration of justice demands that courts not only focus on the “side of the applicant [accused]”, but also the victims of crime.

“This young girl had parents, relatives, friends … They must be feeling sick and traumatised too,” he said.

He was referring to Chetty’s submissions in affidavits that his family was “stressed and traumatised” by his continued detention and that his health has suffered in prison and he had lost 46 kg.

The state submitted a report by the prison medical officer indicating that Chetty was not suffering from major health problems, and had lost only 12,9 kg since his arrest.

Chetty will appear in court again on October 16.

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