Kessie Nair must be sent for mental observation, court rules

Kessie Nair looked agitated after the Verulam Family Court ruled that he must be sent to Fort Napier Hospital for mental evaluation. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)
Kessie Nair looked agitated after the Verulam Family Court ruled that he must be sent to Fort Napier Hospital for mental evaluation. (Mxolisi Mngadi, News24)

Former Durban councillor and convicted fraudster Kessie Nair, who called President Cyril Ramaphosa the k-word in a widely circulated Facebook video, must be sent for mental evaluation, the Verulam Family Court ruled on Tuesday.

Nair has been charged with six counts of crimen injuria and two of incitement of public violence.

The order was made after the State applied to have the accused sent for observation, following a district surgeon's recommendation in a report that Nair be evaluated for 28 days at Fort Napier Hospital in Pietermaritzburg.

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

His two brothers and ex-wife also filed affidavits stating that Nair was mentally unwell.

His family said he has not been well since he was released from prison after his incarceration for fraud some years ago.

The surgeon who examined Nair on the day of his arrest said he showed no signs of mental illness but that he was delusional, and recommended that he be sent for observation.

Nair's lawyer Chris Gounden also argued that his client was mentally sound.

On Tuesday, Magistrate Ncumisa Gcolotela ruled that Nair be sent to Fort Napier Hospital as an inpatient.

Waiting list for beds at Fort Napier

She said it was not necessary for a person, who recommended that someone be sent for mental evaluation, to be an expert.

Gounden had argued that the district surgeon who made the recommendation was "incompetent to do a mental evaluation".

But Gcolotela ruled that a relative, prosecutor or court could make such a recommendation "if they see questionable behaviour".

The magistrate also referred to the evidence of Nair's brother Krishnan about the accused's mental state, saying she approached it with caution because "it would appear that they are not on good terms" and there was "bad blood" between them.

Gounden submitted in court that the State had "failed" to bring to the court's attention that there was a waiting list for beds at Fort Napier.

"The first available date is sometimes in April next year," he said.

Prosecutor Carlson Govender responded that he would speak to the Director of Public Prosecutions to find out if they could get an earlier date.

The accused's bail application resumed immediately after.

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