Alleged Boxing Day killer fit for trial
Durban - A man who allegedly went on a Boxing Day shooting spree, leaving one dead and another paralysed, is mentally fit to stand trial and shows no signs of being psychotic.
This was the finding of a magistrate when retired Telkom employee, Maran Nair, 59, was denied bail.
He appeared at the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, where he is charged with the murder of Kumari Samuel, 42, and the attempted murders of her husband, Reuben Samuel, 50, and relatives Poovendree Samuel, 22, Shunker Govender, 35, Pushpa Govender, 63, and Devendran Naicker, 30.
Although the charge sheet reflected an additional attempted murder charge, involving Thumashan Govender, bringing the total count to seven charges, the family confirmed that Thumashan and Shunker Govender were the same person.
The charge sheet has not been amended yet.
The State had previously argued that Nair’s actions were premeditated and therefore they objected to bail.
In judgment on the bail application, Magistrate Busisiwe Mpungose said the defence had failed to show exceptional circumstances why Nair should be granted bail.
“The court needed to take into account various factors. According to the eyewitness who testified, the applicant (Nair) arrived at the gate of the house with a fully-loaded firearm.
“He fired shots at family members and other victims. According to the investigating officer, two were shot in the face and another in the chest.
“The witness also testified that after he was restrained, he still uttered the words: ‘I am not finished with the family’. The defence didn’t dispute the threat of violence and his words that were said,” Mpungose said.
She said the medical certificate provided from a Dr Khalil Kader who had treated Nair, actually reflected that his health was improving and he showed no signs of mental instability.
“He said he was still receiving treatment from 2008 for depression to stabilise him. However, the defence failed to show what was the cause of the illness, or even if this affected him when the incident occurred.
“The court finds his mind is stable and he can stand trial. Dr Kader has assured the court that the applicant is not psychotic, in fact his health is improving.” she said.
The magistrate added that Nair was facing serious charges and it would not be in the interests of society for him to be granted bail.
She pointed out that one person was already dead and two more were facing “a thin line” in their survival.
Mpungose also took issue with defence attorney Rajen Nathalal, who failed to turn up at court. A representative apologised on his behalf.
Earlier, during argument, prosecutor Avinash Gangai read out an affidavit from the investigating officer outlining the injuries the victims had suffered.
The defence argued that this was not a J88 form (official medical evidence supplied by a doctor used for legal purposes).
“Pushpa was shot in the face and cannot use her left hand. Thumashan was shot in the chest and has sustained liver damage, lost nerves in his abdomen and cannot walk. Reuben was also shot in the face and is being treated in hospital. To date, only one victim has been discharged,” Gangai said.
Nair was remanded in custody at Westville Prison and the matter adjourned to March for further investigation.