Crime & Court

Two In Court For Benau Murders And Arson

The two are expected to appear at the High Court in Labasa on May 12. The duo appeared before Magistrate Bimsara Jagodage, and have been remanded.
06 May 2020 12:59
Two In Court For Benau Murders And Arson
Saimum Dean (red shirt) and Zuhair Frahaad Dean escorted by Police outside the Magistrate Court in Labasa on May 5, 2020. Photo: Shratika Naidu

Two people charged with arson and murder of the Benau fire deaths last week have had their case transferred to the High Court in Labasa.

Saimum Dean, 40, and Zuhair Frahaad Dean, 19, have each been charged with one count of arson, four counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

The two are expected to appear at the High Court in Labasa on May 12. The duo appeared before Magistrate Bimsara Jagodage, and have been remanded.

Their lawyer, Ami Kohli applied for bail.

However, Police Prosecutor Inspector Subramani Naidu objected to the bail application.

The court heard that the offence was serious and had cost four elderly women’s lives.

“Both accused are of the same area where the four victims died and the tension is very high in this area,” Inspector Naidu said.

“If you could allow us to keep them in Police custody as it is alleged that both accused have some connection to other connected offences in the same area.

“So it would be easy for us to carry out the investigation while they are still in station custody.”

He also informed the court that Saimum had a previous conviction.

Mr Kohli responded saying that previously people charged with similar offences were released on bail.

He added the two are Muslims and observed the month of Ramadan and being in custody wasn’t a good idea.

Inspector Naidu said that this case was of national interest as four women died in the fire. Magistrate Jagodage agreed and ordered the two to remain in Police custody.

He advised Mr Kohli to file a bail application in high court.

The two opted for private counsel.

No plea was taken

Particulars

It is alleged the two on Thursday around 1:30am set fire to Bal Krishna’s house at Benau, Labasa.

During that time  Mr Krishna was sleeping in his room while his mother Nagama, 70, and her three friends, Dharmi 76,  Zamidan Hussain,73, and Subhadra Wati, 70 were sleeping in another room.

The four women died in the fire and Mr Krishna was the lone survivor.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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