Soni’s defence applies for discharge of case

Accused, Rajivee Soni Picture by: Mark Wing

The trial took a drastic turn when defence advocates Jimmy Howse and Christo van Schalkwyk, SC, handed in their heads of argument to Judge Jacqueline Henriques in pursuit of an early discharge for Soni.

The heads of argument supporting the application for an early discharge was 115 pages in length.
State advocate, Johan du Toit was given until Monday, to hand in his heads of argument answering the claims made by the defence.

If the court were to grant the application, it would result in Soni being cleared without having to testify or call any witnesses.

The defence has highlighted three pieces of evidence against Soni linking him to the murder.

The first piece of evidence was former policeman Sugen Naidoo’s testimony where he said that Soni told him that he (Soni) had hired Brian Treasurer to murder Sewram in 2012.

The second bit of evidence came from Sabelo Dlamini, who confessed to shooting the doctor and said that while driving away from the scene, Treasurer “made a phone call and said ‘the job is done’”.

The defence further argued that Dlamini had not implicated Soni and was unaware of who Treasurer was communicating with on the phone.
The cellphone records presented by Dharmesh Kanti of MTN highlighted a voice message received by Soni from a phone belonging to Treasurer according to Rica information.

Soni faces five other charges, three of which were false sexual assault charges laid against the doctor in 2012, an assault charge with intent to do grievous bodily harm by shooting Sewram with a paintball gun also in 2012 and conspiracy to murder Sewram in 2013.

Howse and van Schalkwyk said that the only evidence linking Soni to the murder was that of Sugen Naidoo.

The defence said Naidoo’s purpose for implicating Soni was “questionable to say the least.” Naidoo has admitted to committing crimes for a number of years to pay for his drug addiction.
The defence has questioned whether Naidoo had been “genuinely concerned” about the murder or if he had his “own agenda” to “distance himself from the murder.”

Key state witness, Mlungisi Professor Sithebe died in hospital before Soni’s new legal team could cross examine him further. Sithebe said previously that Soni had approached him to kill the doctor in February 2013.

Judge Jaqueline Henriques and assessor Gerhard said on Monday that the State needed adequate time to hand in the heads of argument.
“In order to give this matter proper justice, we need to adjourn to afford time to go through the heads,” she said.

The matter has been adjourned to Monday, December 12th.

Kaitlyn Rajah

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