Rave rape boyfriend protected girlfriend's reputation by not testifying, court hears

2018-11-21 18:46
(Netwerk24, Lerato Meduna)

(Netwerk24, Lerato Meduna)

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A man found guilty of raping his girlfriend at a rave in Paarl chose not to testify because he "cared too much" about her and didn’t want the details of what happened to her to end up in the media.

This is according to his Legal Aid lawyer Burger Brand, who addressed the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

"He cared too much about Sharisha [Chauhan] to explain in open court in graphic detail what happened that night. And then it [will be] published for the whole world to see - especially the pony press," Brand said.

Brand named two tabloid newspapers in his explanation of what the "pony press" was.

"He said there were a lot of things that happened. If he told the court everything that happened in that tent it would have been much worse - the picture that was painted of Sharisha," said Brand.

Taariq Phillips was found guilty in September of raping Chauhan at a rave at Le Bac wine estate in Paarl on December 31, 2013. 

The couple had been together for between four to five years and had gone to the rave with friends.

Chauhan became unwell and was declared dead at Paarl Mediclinic on January 1, 2014. He said they took MDMA and LSD but the pathology report did not find these drugs in her system.

Only the drugs used by paramedics and emergency specialists were found in her body.

In his judgment, Judge Lee Bozalek ruled that the State had not proved that Phillips had strangled Chauhan as alleged, so he was not found guilty of murder.

'Why did he do that?'

However, he was found guilty of two charges of rape because Bozalek ruled that Chauhan had not been in a state to consent to sex.

Brand became Phillips' lawyer on Monday after his private lawyer withdrew when he ran out of money. 

In the short consultations he has had with Phillips, his client told him he was worried about what the newspapers would say about his girlfriend if he testified.

But Chauhan's mother Minakshi Deva said she was desperate to know what really happened to her daughter. 

"He refused to take the stand. Why did he do that?"

She testified that to her knowledge, her daughter did not use recreational drugs.

She said she had no problems with her daughter other than the usual teenage issues.

She would have gone into the fourth year law of law studies at the University of Western Cape.

She said that, since her daughter died, she could not get a straight answer from Phillips.

"Our lives will never be the same again," she said. "I can't explain it. It is like a part of you just dies."

'She would call him 'my T''

A mutual friend of the couple, Malika Adams, took the stand to say that she could not accept that Phillips had raped Sharisha, as the court found, and had never seen him violent.

"Taariq loved Sharisha so much, as Sharisha loved Taariq. She wouldn't call him Taariq. She would call him 'my T'," she said.

She said when Sharisha died, their friendship group did not know what to do. 

They went to Sharisha's mother's house with a bunch of flowers and hovered outside.

They went to Sharisha's funeral, but not to her mother's home, because they had been told that Sharisha's mother did not want to see them there after what happened to her daughter.

She said she had never seen any violent behaviour in Phillips and Chauhan had spoken of wanting to marry Phillips. She was also "leaning into" Islam - his faith - which is usually a sign that a couple is planning a long-term commitment.

"I have never seen any aggression or talking down, or ill-treatment in any way," said Adams. 

She said after Sharisha's death, there was a marked difference in Phillips.

"He was broken as an individual."

The case was postponed to November 29 for further pre-sentencing procedures.

Read more on:    taariq phillips  |  sharisha chauhan  |  sexual abuse  |  courts
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