'Very small', healing injury on Meghan Cremer murder accused's back after assault claims

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Advocate Bashier Sibda and Jeremy Sias.
Advocate Bashier Sibda and Jeremy Sias.
Astrid Februarie
  • Dr Fatima Karjiker, who examined murder accused Jeremy Sias three years ago, says he told her that police had hit, kicked and smacked him for three days.
  • However, she only found a "very small" minor abrasion on his back that was in the process of healing.
  • And when she examined his rib area, she didn't find any deformity, bruising or crepitus, which is a popping, clicking or crackling sound in a joint.

Murder accused Jeremy Sias claimed he had been beaten for three days, but all the doctor found on his body was a small abrasion and no evidence of any injuries to his ribs before she prescribed Panado and Brufen tablets for him.

Dr Fatima Karjiker, who examined Sias before he pointed out where he had dumped Meghan Cremer's body, said the accused claimed police hit, kicked and smacked him the "Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday".

According to his version, he was assaulted on his chest and abdomen.

Karjiker, however, only found a "very small", minor abrasion to his back, which had been healing.

"It didn't look like a fresh wound to me," she told the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday.

meghan cremer
Meghan Cremer.

And when she examined his rib area after he complained of tenderness, she didn't find any deformity, bruising or crepitus, which is a popping, clicking or crackling sound in a joint.

Sias presented as clean and neat, and he appeared stable and didn't seem distressed in any way, she testified.

READ | Meghan Cremer's face was so badly disfigured that family identified her by jewellery, mom tells court

"He was complaining about pain. That's why I gave [the medication] to him," she said.

Cremer went missing on 3 August 2019. Her body was discovered five days later, when Sias led police to it.

According to him, he found her body in the boot of her Toyota Auris, which he had taken for a joyride after finding it parked, with the keys in the ignition, at Vaderlandsche Rietvlei Farm, where he worked and Cremer lived.

He claimed he dumped the body because he feared he would be accused of her murder.

A ribbon was used to strangle Cremer.

meghan
Meghan Cremer’s mother Gill and her brother Paul pictured outside court during a previous appearance.

Karjiker is a witness in a trial-within-a-trial , held to determine the admissibility of comments Sias made the day of the pointing out.

The defence contends the accused made false statements in which he told police he had killed Cremer under duress.

Sias claims he had been threatened, assaulted and intimidated by the police and that he had made the supposedly false admission so that he could "benefit from promises" that he would be tried in a lower court and thereby, would face a lesser sentence.

Bashier Sibda, who represents Sias, questioned Karjiker on the lack of detail in her report on the abrasion on his client's back.

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Describing it as superficial, she said she believed her notes had been sufficient because Sias had been stable and his injury had, by no means, been life-threatening.

She would not estimate how old his injury was.

"I am not an expert so I can't put a timeframe on it. It depends on comorbidities, like diabetes… a healthy person would heal faster," she explained.

A healthy adult, like Sias, would probably start healing within a few days, she added.

The injury could have been a result of blunt force trauma, Karjiker conceded under cross-examination, although it was difficult to say how it was sustained.

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"It can happen in many ways," she said, such as a fall, being scratched or, as Sias maintains, being kicked.

Sibda accused Karjiker of being reluctant and vague in her response, charging that she wanted to give as "little credence to my client's version as possible".

She denied this.

Karjiker said while she couldn't remember the specific consultation, she had noted the abrasion herself.

"He didn't say anything about being hit on the back," she testified.

Sibda replied that his client said he had mentioned it.

"I can't remember exactly what he said, but this is what I documented," Karjiker responded.

The trial resumes on Thursday.

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