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Saturday, 22 August 2009

Shirley Singh, whose husband, Vijay, accuses Brisbane’s Max Sica of killing their children, doesn’t like the questions she’s being asked during Sica’s committal hearing. The hearing is being held in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court to establish whether there is enough evidence to bring Sica to trial. It’s incredibly intriguing.

Sica’s lawyer, Sam Di Carlo, has been questioning the Singhs intensely for the past week in an attempt, as he says today, to “establish the likelihood of another person being responsible” for the deaths, in 2003.

Vijay Singh and his wife were in Fiji at the time the murders were carried out.
"If you are trying to prove that my husband is violent and that he is the cause of what happened let me remind you that we were in Fiji at the time," Mrs Singh said.

"I'm not trying to prove one or another person did it," Mr Di Carlo replied, referring to the crimes for which his client, Max Sica, is currently in court.

But there’s more.

Mrs Singh told the defence lawyer yesterday [20 August] she could not understand why the abuse she suffered at Vijay Singh's hands was "the main topic" of his questioning.

"In 25 years of marriage, 50 times being assaulted is just a minor thing," she said, insisting the attacks were irrelevant to her children's deaths.

"What are you driving at?"

Mr Di Carlo, who spent more than an hour quizzing Mrs Singh about her childhood, her husband's business dealings, his extra-marital affairs and the physical abuse she suffered, told her he simply had to do his job.

"I'm not driving at anything," Mr Di Carlo said.

"I understand your pain ... I don't think anybody can understand your pain but I'm doing the best I can."

Vijay was on the stand earlier.

During another dramatic day of cross-examination by Sica's barrister Sam Di Carlo yesterday [17 August], Mr Singh said the accused man had influenced Neelma to lie when she wrote in an email about a threat by her father to chop her up.

Mr Di Carlo read out the email, allegedly written by Neelma to Sica in October 2002 when she and her mother, Shirley Singh, were in Fiji investigating an affair Mr Singh was having with a Fijian woman.

In the email Neelma allegedly wrote that she had confronted her father, who was then in Australia, about the affair and six or seven other women she believed he had been sleeping with.

"I spoke to Dad and blew the f--- out of him. He told me that when I get back to Brisbane he will cut me to pieces. He said he's going to bash us up and he's really going to do it."

Asked if the threat was made, Mr Singh said it was not, and that Sica was responsible for his daughter's words.

"He is the one who instigates very much my daughter to do that," he said.

"Why should I be saying that? I did not."

The trial continues, providing endless topics of conversation for the people of Queensland. In my view, Shirley’s prompt denial of guilt and her ready excuse that she and her husband were overseas at the time of the murders, makes her sound guilty. And her husband’s erratic temperament is also a matter of interest for a spectator.

The upshot of all the evidence is that Vijay Singh killed his children because he was sexually abusing his youngest daughter, Sidhi, 12. Son Kunal, 18, and daughter, Neelma, 24, also died. This may be because they were aware of the goings-on. In a traditional Indian family such as this, silence would have been rather more usual than the alternative.

Sica is an easy target for Singh because he violently disagreed with Sica’s (39) love affair with Neelma, which took place in 2002 and 2003. Vijay Singh claims that Sica threatened him, which is possible, but it seems unlikely to me that Sica did it. If Singh were really abusing his daughter, as Sica claimed, then he has motive. As for opportunity, he could easily have organised for another person to have entered the house and killed the children.

Vijay Singh further presents an unbalanced personality by admitting that he and his wife once fantasised about having sex with Sica. The children were killed with an religious rake, an accoutrement of a Hindu god.

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