Murder accused mom, gran to undergo assessment

2014-12-04 14:05

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Durban - The murder-accused mother and grandmother of 3-and-a-half-year-old Jamie Naidoo were ordered to undergo a mental assessment by the Chatsworth Magistrate's Court in Durban on Thursday.

This followed the revelation in court that the dead toddler's mother Patricia Kershie Ishwalal had been involved in a car crash that had left her incapable of managing her own affairs.

While Ishwalal's lawyer Vijay Sivakumoor did not reveal details of the accident, or when it took place, KwaZulu-Natal High Court records from a Road Accident Fund case in 2004 indicated that a curator had questioned Ishwalal's mental ability.

Ishwalal and her mother Salatchee Venilla Basanich have both been charged with Naidoo's murder.

They were arrested after paramedics declared the toddler dead on 20 November.

The two had been expected to apply for bail but Sivakumoor said the bail application was being temporarily abandoned. He was applying for his clients to undergo a mental assessment instead.

‘Child-like tendencies in speech’

Sivakumoor quoted the unnamed curator as telling the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in 2004 of Ishwalal, whose surname was Naidoo at the time: "I am of the view that Naidoo will need care and assistance for the rest of her life".

He had said there were "child-like tendencies in her speech".

Sivakumoor told Magistrate Busisiwe Lily Mpungose that in light of Ishwalal's head injuries and the curator's comments it was in the interests of justice that her mental status be determined.

Prosecutor Lolly Soobramoney did not oppose the application and Mpungose ordered that both women be assessed.

Mpungose did, however, decline Sivakumoor's application for the two to be held in the cells of a local police station instead of Westville Prison.

Sivakumoor said inmates had assaulted Basanich at the prison's hospital where she had been seeking medication.

Further charges

Mpungose ordered that the two women be kept in isolation at the prison until beds became available at Fort Napier Hospital mental facility.

The case was adjourned to 7 January, but Soobramoney warned: "We are looking at a good few months before a bed is available."

She told the court that further charges would be brought against the two women.

Access to the court was strictly controlled and some journalists were denied entry.

There was a heavy police presence outside the court building where almost 100 protesters chanted and waved placards.

Among the protesters was Nokuthula Khanyile, head of the province's social development department. She said the department would put together a commission to investigate the incident.

She said Ishwalal's three other children were being cared for at an unnamed institution.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime

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