Wellington: An Indian-origin man in New Zealand, who murdered his wifes lover in a savage hammer attack, challenged the length of his sentence at a court in Christchurch on Thursday.
Months of pent-up jealousy and anger drove Niraj Nilesh Prasad, 39, to break into Faiz Ali’s Armagh St flat and smash his head with a hammer on February 21, 2021.
Prasad, who was found guilty of murder, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 18-and-a-half years by the High Court in Christchurch in March.
Challenging the length of his sentence at the Court of Appeal, Prasad’s lawyer James Rapley said that cultural factors were in play when his client reacted so viciously and violently, and were “causative” of his brutal offending, but not taken into account when he was sentenced, the NZ Herald reported.
The lawyer further said that the issues raised in the cultural report should be taken into consideration as it helps to explain Prasad’s extreme action and, to some extent, lessens his culpability.
During the trial in March, the prosecutor said the killing was “calculated and premeditated”, with Prasad delivering at least 20 hammer blows on Ali’s head.
Ali received 38 wounds in the hammer and knife attack, which caused “plainly visible catastrophic head injuries” and would have continued when he was defenceless, dying and perhaps even dead, NZ Herald reported.
The blows fractured Ali’s skull and jaw, and fatally damaged his brain.
The cultural report said Prasad was racked by shame, hopelessness and a consuming despair.
And while Rapley accepted that infidelity happens in “all walks of life and cultures”, and that nothing excuses Prasad from killing another man, the cultural report helps explain his actions.
The report says there was “no doubt” Prasad’s cultural background played a role in the way he reacted, Rapley said.
Reserving its decision, the Court of Appeal asked: “It’s one thing to be deeply ashamed and upset, but how does that translate into an extremely violent and brutal attack?”
The judges also noted that violent murders as these are not unique to any particular culture or background.
Neighbours had seen Prasad covered in blood and holding a hammer as he left the crime scene.
He told one of them: “I won’t harm you. That man was having an affair with my wife.”