Kessie Nair's brother testifies: 'I noticed changes in his mental state'

2018-10-01 18:47
Former Durban councillor, Kessie Nair, sits at the Verulam Family Court. (Rajesh Jantilal / AFP)

Former Durban councillor, Kessie Nair, sits at the Verulam Family Court. (Rajesh Jantilal / AFP)

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Krishnan Nair, the brother of Kessie Nair – the former Durban councillor and convicted fraudster who called President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word in a Facebook video – told the Verulam Family Court on Monday that his brother had gone for psychiatric treatment while he was incarcerated at Westville Prison in Durban.

Krishnan was called by the State to testify in its application for Kessie to be sent to a mental institution for observation for 28 days.

Kessie has been charged with six counts of crimen injuria and two of incitement of public violence after he called Ramaphosa the k-word in a widely circulated Facebook video.

Krishnan said they were told by an official at the Westville prison about his brother's mental problem.

"We were told as family that my brother needed medical attention from a psychiatrist," he said.

He said he also noticed "changes" in Kessie's mental state on his numerous visits while his brother was in jail, and when he was released from prison.

"Over the past couple of years, and on the days of his incarceration up to his release and when I visited him, he was not the same. He had changed," he said.

He also said they could see that something was not right with Kessie, from what he had been posting on social media.

No treatment

Krishnan revealed that his brother was once asked to visit a medical practitioner over this, "but he didn't go".

Krishnan said he issued a statement shortly after Kessie posted the defamatory as he and his other brother Ravi were concerned about Kessie's mental condition.

"Making those derogatory and defamatory statements on social media is not something that we wanted to associate ourselves with," he said.

Krishnan said he had also asked for assistance from authorities in the statement that he had issued on behalf of the Nair family.

"I had asked authorities to assist us in getting him into a medical rehab," he said.

Krishnan, who told the court that he had a diploma in marketing and sales and a degree in finance, said Kessie wasn't receiving any treatment for mental illness when he was asked by his brother's lawyer Chris Gounden during cross-examination.

He said he had interacted with Kessie two days prior to the Facebook post.

"I had mentioned to him to not tag me on his social media posts," he said. He said within the last two years they had had quite a few interactions.

No observation for Sparrow, Momberg

Krishnan said he had not taken any steps to help his brother because he believed that Kessie's ex-wife was doing that.

He said he was approached by the Hawks after he posted the family statement on social media.

He admitted that he was an Alcoholics Anonymous member and had worked for the accused two years ago.

He testified that he had not touched alcohol for the past two and a half years.

Gounden said the fact that Kessie called Ramaphosa the k-word did not mean that he had a mental illness.

"You've also heard of the likes of Penny Sparrow using the k-word and even (Vicki) Momberg, but they were never sent for mental illness [observation]," said Gounden.

Gounden argued that Kessie was found to be fit to stand trial in all his previous convictions.

"The court never found the accused lacked the mental capacity when it convicted him. I'll put it to you that there's nothing wrong with your brother's mental state," said Gounden.

Krishnan then immediately asked: "Are you an expert?"

Krishnan said Kessie did go for mental health assessment while still incarcerated.

Outstanding statements

He said if the State asked prison authorities for official records on his brother's mental state they would get them.

"I've been instructed that you were under the influence of alcohol at the time you interacted with the accused, you cannot make allegations that he was not mentally well," said Gounden.

But Krishnan said it was not just his view but his brother Kessie's ex-wife and their other brother, Ravi, shared the same view.

He also denied that Ravi was coerced by the police to make a statement on Kessie's mental state.

Warrant Officer Ajay Lutchnan, who is investigating the case, told the court that investigations were at an advanced stage.

He said there were about 10 outstanding statements in the matter.

When Gounden asked him whether Ramaphosa had made a statement, the State objected before Lutchnan could answer.

Magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela also said she could not allow the question.

The case continues.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  kessie nair  |  durban  |  crime  |  racism

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