And the Durban High Court heard on Thursday that he had sustained injuries.
Murder accused Kennedy Amon Ngongi claimed that police assaulted him and he did not receive any medical attention for 24 hours until his appointment with the district surgeon, who confirmed he had been assaulted.
According to the doctor’s report, Ngongi had facial injuries, cuts, congestion in the eye and hypochondrial pain. The surgeon further referred him to a trauma unit, but he was not sent there.
Ngongi, 28, his co-accused, Ally Jumar Abdullar, 39, and domestic worker Nonjabulo Mteki, 33, are in custody and have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.
The State alleges that Mteki was in a relationship with Kenny Osita Okiri, whose business involved selling gold and other precious stones, and he had learnt through Mteki that Singh had many diamonds, gold and foreign currencies, and they planned to rob her.
None of Singh’s family has been in court since the trial started. Her son, whom she lived with, had reportedly relocated abroad after the murder. A few of her neighbours sat in the back row of the courtroom. Family members of the accused attended Thursday’s court session.
Captain B Reddy admitted to the court that he did not bother to read the J88 form, a document which must be completed by the district surgeon before a pointing-out by an accused person is done.
Although he agreed that this was procedural, Reddy defended himself by saying that he did not see it necessary to have sight of the doctor’s report, claiming that his personal observation found no injuries on the accused except for the bruises on his wrist.
“I asked him about the bruises on his wrist and he said they were caused by the handcuffs.
“I asked over and over again if he was threatened or if the police had assaulted him, but he said ‘no’. I even assured him of protection if he had been threatened in any way to do the pointing-out, but he kept on saying that he did it voluntarily,” Reddy said.
He said that if he had seen the doctor’s report, as per procedure by a pointing-out officer, he would have immediately cancelled the pointing-out and taken a statement from the accused about how he was injured.
Ngongi’s attorney Maggie Pillay said Reddy’s version was not the truth, and in fact the doctor’s J88 report clearly stated that the accused was injured.
She questioned the purpose of sending the accused to the district surgeon in the first place, before the pointing-out, if he was not going to consult its findings.
“My instructions are that the accused was assaulted by the police attached to the provincial task team for two hours and he did not get any medical attention the next day until his appointment with the district surgeon as per procedure before a pointing-out was conducted. He was threatened and assaulted and told to comply with what he was told to do,” Pillay said.
Reddy insisted that he knew nothing about the assault before that pointing-out.
“As a neutral person, not involved in the actual investigation in this case. I did not see a need for me to have sight of the doctor’s report.
“The accused had told me himself that he was not threatened or assaulted. If I knew about the alleged assault, I would not have continued with the pointing-out,” he added.