Date fi­nally set for mur­der trial

Post - - News - ZODIDI DANO

THE fam­ily of Shar­isha Chauhan, the 21-year-old law stu­dent who was mur­dered at a rave party in Paarl in Cape Town, said de­lays have been emo­tion­ally tax­ing.

On Mon­day, the State and de­fence teams asked that a trial date be set by the West­ern Cape High Court.

The mat­ter has been on the high court roll for more than two years. This is af­ter a failed plea agree­ment.

State prose­cu­tor ad­vo­cate Esna Eras­mus said: “There have been a few meet­ings be­tween the State and de­fence, but an agree­ment on plea and sen­tence can­not be reached. We there­fore asked for a trial date.”

In re­sponse, the de­fence’s ad­vo­cate Joey Moses, said the ac­cused had been prej­u­diced.

“Gen­uine at­tempts for a plea and sen­tence agree­ment have been ren­dered mean­ing­less and have never ma­te­ri­alised. “We agree with the re­quest.” Judge Kate Sav­age set a date of Oc­to­ber 23, say­ing she did not want an­other de­lay.

“The con­tents on the plea bar­gain was not recorded and shall not be on record. As the courts we were not in­volved and will not in­clude the con­tents in trial,” she said.

On New Year’s Eve in 2013, Chauhan and her boyfriend Taariq Phillips, the ac­cused, had been at­tend­ing a rave party.

The State al­leges that at about mid­night, Phillips, Chauhan and some friends took drugs and went danc­ing.

A short while later Chauhan started feel­ing sick. She and the ac­cused went to a tent they had been sharing for Chauhan to rest. About an hour later the ac­cused called for help as Chauhan had been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing seizures.

It was ini­tially be­lieved that Chauhan had died of a drug over­dose.

How­ever, an au­topsy re­port said she had been stran­gled to death.

Phillips faces charges of rape and mur­der.

Out­side court 13, Chauhan’s mother, who de­clined to be named, said the post­pone­ments in the mat­ter were “frus­trat­ing”.

“It is like an emo­tional roller-coaster ride.

“It has been emo­tion­ally tax­ing and frus­trat­ing to con­tin­u­ously come to court only to hear about more de­lays.

“This is a sec­ond trial date. We just hope that it be the last wait,” she said.

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