New video evidence that surfaced in the second-degree murder trial of Surrey man Tejwant Danjou was played in a Kelowna courtroom on Friday, June 5.
The three-minute video was shot by Danjou himself on May 7, 2018, as he and Gauravarapu were on a flight to Las Vegas — three months before he bludgeoned her to death with a wine bottle in their West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018.
According to testimony from forensic psychiatrist Dr. Todd Tomita, Danjou believed the video to show evidence of Gauravarapu’s infidelity. Danjou claimed to Tomita that he took the video after Gauravarapu had “hiked up her dress” while on the plane, allowing the man in the seat next to her to “flirt and fondle her.”
When played in court, the video mostly showed the underside of Danjou’s airplane tray table, and a leg — likely Danjou’s. Gauravarapu and Danjou were heard speaking Hindi through the duration of the video.
“I took it as nothing, but he said a man sitting next to him fondled her leg,” Tomita said of the video while testifying on Tuesday, June 2.
According to Danjou’s defence lawyer, Donna Turko, the content of the video, specifically Danjou’s interpretation of it, is important in determining whether Danjou had delusions regarding Gauravarapu’s infidelity or if it progressed to hallucinations.
“Hallucination then makes the disassociation more in the realm of completely-out-of-touch,” she said on Thursday.
In March, the court heard RCMP discovered Danjou hiding in a dumpster shortly after Gauravarapu was found covered in blood, clinging to life in their nearby West Kelowna hotel room. She died a short time after RCMP’s arrival and Danjou was arrested.
Danjou — who entered a surprise guilty plea as the trial commenced on Feb. 25 then retracted it the next day — has admitted to causing Gauravarapu’s life-ending injuries but did not admit to having the intention to kill her, the latter being a key component of a second-degree murder conviction.
The defence began its case on Tuesday, as the Crown rested its own. In her brief opening statement, Turko laid out her case claiming Danjou could not have formed intent to kill Gauravarapu due to him being mentally unwell.
“We’ve heard it from the victim herself,” Turko said. “Words to the effect of ‘you’re crazy’, ‘your head’s not working’.”
Turko said Danjou became delusional about Gauravarapu having relationships with other men.
“It tormented him,” she said. “At the time of the tragic death of Ms. Gauravarapu, Mr. Danjou did not have the requisite intent to commit the murder of the woman he loved so much.”
The defence closed its case following the playing of the video in court, marking the end of the evidentiary phase of the trial.
The matter is expected back in court on June 12 at 10 a.m. for both Crown and defence to give final submissions.
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