Date finally set for murder trial
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.