Asmalls await justice for daughter

By NATASHA PRINCE Time of article published Jan 30, 2015

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Cape Town - A prominent Pietermaritzburg couple who sought a private prosecution that led to a man being convicted for their daughter’s murder will return to Cape Town in three months as sentencing proceedings have been prolonged.

Yunus Asmall and his wife, Sara, of the Asmall’s chain of clothing stores in Pietermaritzburg, have tried to attend every court appearance of Faizel Hendricks – the man who killed their daughter, Rochelle Naidoo, 10 years ago.

Naidoo was 27 when she died and had been romantically involved for about three years with Hendricks at the time of the shooting.

She was found dead in her Palm Mews flat in Woodstock on June 28, 2005.

Hendricks was convicted of her murder last year. He is currently out on warning.

His sentencing proceedings began in the Cape Town Regional Court on Thursday.

Advocate Gideon Scheltema SC questioned probation officer Eugene Francois Mulder of the department of Social Development about a report he had compiled regarding Hendricks. He questioned how Mulder arrived at the conclusion that Hendricks was “of good character”.

Mulder did not have access to the judgment nor did he have knowledge of the merits of the case. He had only interviewed Hendricks when he compiled his report.

Scheltema asked whether he knew that Hendricks had “misled the police” and that he “never took the court into his confidence”.

Scheltema spoke of the night before Naidoo died, how CCTV footage had shown her pulling up in her car, and spending the night in front of her flat – leaving at 6am the next day.

“This showed some callousness on behalf of the accused allowing his beloved to sit in the car the whole night,” Scheltema said.

He added: “If it is a finding of the court, it shows something in the character of the accused.”

Based on new information, the court postponed the matter for Mulder to produce a revised report.

The Asmalls have already spent hundreds of thousands of rand trying to prove that Hendricks had been lying when he said he had nothing to do with her murder.

Hendricks told police he saw Naidoo use his unlicensed .38 Special revolver to shoot herself.

It emerged in court that the couple had an argument that night and Hendricks had assaulted Naidoo.

The matter had initially been withdrawn against Hendricks because the State did not have evidence for conviction.

A judicial inquest followed in 2008 when it was suggested Naidoo could have committed suicide, but the cause of death was not clear.

The Asmalls sought their own legal route and over time, a private prosecution was launched.

Hendricks did not testify through the trial and had left the court with “numerous unanswered questions”, according to the then presiding magistrate, Michelle Adams.

Experts had testified that it was highly unlikely Naidoo had shot herself.

Hendricks is expected back in court on April 7.

Independent Media

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