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Lack of justice! Court Freed Man Because He Was Intoxicated When He Murdered His Girlfriend

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Mark Donovan Ramdass

A murderer, was on Friday set free by a Durban High Court, after he was charged with the murder of his girlfriend. The man identified as Mark Donovan Ramdass on Friday, walked out of the Durban High Court a free man, leaving his girlfriend’s family shattered at the “lack of justice”.

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Ramdass was accused of murdering the Merebank resident, 35, by strangling her and placing a plastic bag over her head in March 2014.

Ramdass lived with Singh and her mother, Dolly.

That day, Ramdass drank excessive amounts of alcohol and smoked crack cocaine before committing the murder, and claimed he had no recollection of the killing.

Judge Johan Ploos van Amstel used previous case law, with evidence provided in court, and said the State had not provided a clear motive why Ramdass would kill Singh, and that Ramdass was so drunk he lacked criminal capacity.

Singh’s family plan to appeal against the ruling.

Singh was found in her bedroom. A courtesy car on loan to Singh was found in the Point area after the murder, and Ramdass handed himself over to the police two days later. He has been in custody since then.

Before Judge van Amstel began his verdict, Ramdass’s legal team asked for a police escort out of court to a safe family home in the Durban area should he be set free, as he had received threats.

Judge Van Amstel said he was satisfied that Ramdass was the person who killed Singh.

Ramdass stated that he had had alcohol-induced amnesia and had no recollection of killing his girlfriend.

In his ruling, the judge said: “I am not able to find him untruthful. It was not my impression that he was faking his ability to remember the events.”

Two possible scenarios for Singh’s murder, said the judge, could have been that Ramdass resented Singh for her controlling behaviour towards him, and that he was angry because she did not give him more money to buy drugs on the day of the murder.

In his plea statement presented earlier in the trial, Ramdass stated that he was “convinced” no one but him could have committed the murder. However, he said he did not remember the crime, and also could not remember stealing a cellphone, a set of keys, a cellphone charger and a GPS device from the house before leaving in Singh’s courtesy car.

The State had questioned the level of Ramdass’s intoxication, and the fact that he was able to drive away from the scene while not being able to remember committing the crime.

Singh’s mother wept outside the court room soon after judgment was delivered.

“What justice is this? The message the judge is sending to killers is that you can drink and take drugs and kill someone and get away with it,” she said.

Family spokesman Naresh Rampersad said: “It is indeed a sad day for our family and for justice in our country. The judge has acquitted the murderer on grounds that we did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he intended killing Ashika and he was of sane mind when he did it.

“It’s inexplicable what has happened. It’s a true travesty of justice. The murderer who admitted he did the crime walks free. Our heart goes out to Dolly. We have asked that the advocate institute appeal procedures.”



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