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Cops disperse feuding supporters outside court

Published Aug 5, 2018

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Durban - A clash between two groups of supporters who had gathered outside the Verulam Magistrate’s Court yesterday turned violent, prompting police to use pepper spray to disperse them.

A fight had broken out between family and friends of Phoenix man Donovan Naicker who was allegedly stoned to death in March and those of the three men charged with his murder.

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The accused - Karl Pretorius, Floyd Reddy and Jensen Reddy - had appeared briefly in court amid the chaos outside.

Among those who were caught up in the drama was Naicker’s blind cousin Kayleigh Soobramoney, 17, aunt Shireen Pillay, 44, and Yanendrie Moutia, 48, a family friend.

Soobramoney said she was standing with her mother when she heard the commotion. 

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“The next thing I felt was a push and then a burning sensation in my eyes. I started to scream for my mother because I did not know what was going on.”

Pillay said: “I saw the men fighting and then an officer banged me against the wall and sprayed my eyes. They even used tear gas on us. I was gasping for air because the tear gas was so strong.”

Moutia claimed she was thrown to the ground.

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There has been bad blood between the two parties since the murder.

Naicker’s family has also approached the Office of the Chief Justice to voice their concerns around the way the matter was handled by the courts.

They’re outraged by bail of R3000 being awarded to the three accused, and the R500 bail granted to a friend of one of them who allegedly offered a bribe for a witness to change his statement to police.

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Naicker’s sister, Natasha Naidoo, claimed the justice system was “unfair”, and now wants the bail and bail conditions to be reviewed. In an email sent also to the acting chief magistrate of the Verulam court, Irfaan Khalil, she said bail was granted without the family being given an opportunity to oppose it.

“We were burying my brother when the bail hearing was under way,” Naidoo said in her email, which has been seen by POST.

“The accused appeared on March 12, and the case was postponed to the next day for a formal bail application. That is one day’s notice, which is certainly contrary to the norm”

Naidoo also stated that numerous calls were made to contact prosecutors to inform them that they wished to oppose bail.

“In May we had a petition with 16000 signatures asking for bail to be revoked but nothing was done.”

In the email, Naidoo also questioned the release on bail of Sershan Soobramoney, who appeared in the Verulam court recently on charges of defeating the ends of justice, bribery and corruption.

The 24-year-old Phoenix man, according to a source familiar with the case, allegedly offered R30000 to a witness to change his statement.

“The complainant refused and reported the matter to the police,” the source said.

Said Naidoo in her email: “This matter is linked to a murder investigation and in light of that, stricter conditions should have been imposed.”

Khalil confirmed that Naidoo had contacted the Office of the Chief Justice and that he had received the emailed letter of complaints.

“The letter is receiving attention and we will be looking into the allegations with the requisite urgency. If it is a matter of dealing with the prosecution, it will then be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

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