Case dropped against rape and murder accused
A MAN charged with the rape and murder of Litisha Danielle Naidoo (19), whose body was found dumped in a sewer, has been let off the hook.
This is because one of the main witnesses who was due to testify in the trial of Christopher Sabbadu, has died.
State advocate Dheelan Naidoo also told the Pietermaritzburg high court that the state’s case against Sabbadu was “poor”.
Naidoo offered these reasons for withdrawing charges against Sabbadu, who found himself a free man after spending more than three years in custody awaiting the finalisation of his trial.
His dad, Sorrin, said the family was pleased with his release.
“We prayed a lot and put our faith in the Lord. He answered our prayers.”
He added that his son, who did not want to comment, was “getting along with everybody” and very happy to be at home.
The state had explained to the victim’s family prior to the case being called up in court yesterday what would happen, and they did not attend the case. Attempts by The Witness to contact them for comment afterwards were unsuccessful.
Naidoo’s body was found by police in a stormwater drain near Debi Place in Northdale on November 20, 2014.
Sabbadu was arrested afterwards and denied bail.
His initial trial, which began in the high court in 2016, was beset with problems.
After he pleaded not guilty to the charges, he claimed to be suffering from a form of mild mental retardation and was sent to Fort Napier Hospital for mental evaluation.
The outcome was that he was found to be fit to stand trial.
Then in June last year, the presiding judge in the case recused himself from the trial following an application by Sabbadu’s advocate, Di Franklin, following an “incorrect” article published in a Durban newspaper and online.
In it, the judge was quoted as having warned Sabbadu “to stop playing games” and Naidoo’s relatives were quoted agreeing with the judge.
The judge said that although he did not say this, what was published had come to the attention of Sabbadu and members of the community who might regard it as the truth. He therefore found that the perception of bias it created made it necessary for him to recuse himself and for the case to be tried before a different judge.
Instead of a new trial, however, the case was yesterday withdrawn against Sabbadu.
It had been alleged in the state’s indictment that Sabbadu and Naidoo had a “tumultuous” relationship.
It was alleged that prior to the incident, Sabbadu decided to rape and kill her and allegedly procured the assistance of four friends.
After luring her to a secluded spot, Sabbadu and his companions allegedly assaulted her. It was alleged two men had raped the victim who was thereafter stabbed and throttled.