Soni Trial witness dies

Ravijee Soni

The murder trial of Rajivee Soni took a dramatic turn this week when the fourth state witness to be recalled by Soni’s defence, died in hospital over the weekend.
Yesterday, State prosecutor Johan Du Toit requested that the case be closed pending argument, following the death of state witness Professor Sithebe, who had been recalled for cross-examination on video footage evidence from the trial within a trial.
Du Toit confirmed that both he and the defence did not wish to recall any other witnesses to the stand and requested that the court commences with argument. Judge Jacqueline Henriques adjourned the matter for Monday December 5 when arguments will be heard.
Monday’s court proceedings saw state witness and former policeman, Sugen Naidoo being cross-examined about his role in the orchestrated murder of city doctor Bhavish Sewram on May 13 2013, which included a ploy to lay a false sexual assault charge against the doctor.
Under cross-examination by defence Advocate Jimmy Howes, Naidoo said he had received R40 000 from Soni after his former colleague, Daryl Gounder persuaded Mariamma Kisten to lay false sexual assault charges against Sewram as part of Soni’s alleged vendetta against the doctor, whom Soni believed was having an affair with his wife.
Referring to evidence and Naidoo’s previous statements, stating that he only received one amount of R20 000 from Soni, Howes accused Naidoo of “fabricating evidence”.  Naidoo then explained he was given two payments of R20 000, however Soni strenuously denied paying Naidoo another R20 000.
Howes said the R20 000 was based on the agreement that the doctor would be arrested and charged with sexual assault and be detained for a period of time. The agreement also entailed that the doctor appears in court, and since Sewram never appeared in court and was not held in police custody, he believes “Soni had no reason to pay Naidoo another R20 000”.
The case is adjourned until Monday December 5 for argument.

Jade le Roux

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