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Judgment in the trial of Durban socialite and businessman Rajiv Narandas is to be delivered next month.
At his last appearance on May 3, the court was told some evidence was missing, but prosecutor Adele Barnard has since found it and it was handed over to Magistrate Reiner Boshoff on Thursday.
The magistrate is to study the written transcripts of all the evidence before delivering judgment next month.
Narandas’s advocate, Mannie Witz, has applied for the State’s case to be discharged in terms of section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act, which says that if, at the close the prosecution’s case, there is no evidence the accused committed the offence, he or she may be acquitted.
Barnard has opposed the application.
To decide the merits of this application, the magistrate needs to look at all the evidence led to date. If the application is found to have merit and magistrate Boshoff discharges the State’s case, Narandas will be acquitted.
Narandas, the son of Durban jewellery store owner Krish Narandas, is facing a charge of murdering Veenand Singh, 32.
Singh was stabbed in the heart during a fracas at about 4.30am in the carpark of the Shoukara nightclub in Sandton on July 13, 2008.
Witz contends that the evidence of the last State witness – Paroshen Soorian, who was in Singh’s group on the night of the attack – was full of contradictions and defeated the State’s case. Also, the medical evidence that was led does not support the State’s charge, he says.
Singh died of a straight, deep wound, consistent with a cane with a blade at the end of it, which was what Narandas’s friend, Jenaide Charles, was carrying.
The State contends that the weapon was a big, serrated knife, which is not consistent with the medical evidence, says Witz.
Soorian, who was 16 at the time of the incident, told the court in November that he had not seen the stabbing because he had been facing his brother, Gyendra, who had been knocked to the ground by another member of Narandas’s group.
But he had seen Narandas fetch a “weapon” from under his car seat, then hold it above his head, he said.
“I heard from Gyendra that he had stabbed Veenand,” Soorian said.
For each appearance in a case, which has dragged on for more than three years, Narandas has had to fly or drive up from Durban – about 20 times – but he was given leave by the court to stay at home this time, so he did not appear on Thursday.
He is out on R5 000 bail.
On Thursday, Veenand’s girlfriend, Bashantha Sannasy said she was frustrated.
“This case keeps getting postponed,” she said. “Why was the evidence missing in the first place? It’s ridiculous. The court has had more than enough time to examine the evidence.”
Sannasy said she had struggled to find closure.
Narandas said he was not worried about the judgment.
“The judgment will only be on whether the case is discharged. If not, then I will proceed to take the stand and give my side of the story,” he said.
* Additional reporting by Laea Medley