19 Mar 2015

Prasad unconscious when set on fire, court told

12:47 pm on 19 March 2015

A British forensic fire expert has told the High Court in Auckland it is likely Shalvin Prasad was lying down and unconscious when the fire that killed him was lit.

Shivneel Kumar (left) and Bryne Permal (far right) in Auckland High Court.

Shivneel Kumar (left) and Bryne Permal (far right) in Auckland High Court. Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Bryne Permal and Shivneel Kumar are on trial charged with murdering Mr Prasad, whose charred body was found in scrub in South Auckland two years ago. Both deny the charge.

Shalvin Prasad

Shalvin Prasad Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Steven Andrews, the first witness called for the defence, told the court this morning he would have expected Mr Prasad to run or at least roll away after being doused with petrol before the fire was lit.

Mr Andrews, who gave his evidence by audio-visual link, also addressed Crown evidence that suggests Mr Prasad was sitting, kneeling or standing at the time - because petrol residue was found under his body.

But Mr Andrews said that could have easily been caused by petrol running over his body while he lay on the ground and pooling underneath it.

"In my opinion the evidence at the scene indicates that he was lying flat on his back.

"And in my opinion his arms were probably up above his head, so to speak. So, with his arms up in like a surrender position.

"The kind of position you might expect him to be if he was unconscious or dead," he said.