Version of role in doctor's murder 'unlikely’

2015-09-15 10:28
Bhavish Sewram (The Witness)

Bhavish Sewram (The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Why would the killers of Pietermaritzburg doctor Bhavish Sewram take along an “innocent bystander” as a witness?

This is one of the questions posed on Monday by State advocate Johan du Toit when he argued for the conviction of former policeman Brian Treasurer and his co-accused, Mfaniseni Nxumalo, for the doctor’s murder, as well as unlawful possession of the firearm used to shoot him.

Du Toit said Treasurer maintains he has an innocent explanation for driving Nxumalo and the self-confessed hitman, Sabelo Dlamini, to the scene of the murder, and denies all knowledge of the doctor’s shooting that night.

But Du Toit questioned if it was plausible or probable the two men would have taken along an “innocent witness” to a murder.

He also said there appeared to be no reason for them to turn on Treasurer and falsely implicate him.

Looking at the evidence as a whole, the picture that emerged was that all three men were involved in the murder plot and knew what they were going to do that night, as Dlamini had testified.

He submitted the evidence was borne out by CCTV footage of Treasurer’s movements that night.

Although Dlamini was an accomplice and his evidence had to be approached cautiously, his detailed version of what happened that night was the most logical and acceptable evidence.

Advocate Di Franklin, for Nxumalo, and attorney Bob Bahadur, for Treasurer, meanwhile argued that the State failed to prove their clients’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Franklin maintained that Nxumalo’s version that he was wrongly painted as a major roleplayer in the crime by Treasurer, and that Treasurer had “planted” the murder weapon on him, was reasonably possibly true.

Asked why Nxumalo had not simply “thrown it away in the bush”, if he did not intend to possess the firearm, Franklin said Nxumalo was still thinking about what to do with it when he was arrested.

The two men will learn their fate on Thursday, when Judge Anton van Zyl said he expects to deliver his judgment.

Bahadur said the state had failed to prove the allegations against Treasurer.

He said the prosecution had failed to show that Treasurer formed a common purpose with businessman Rajivee Soni to murder Sewram for a fee of R100 000, as the State had alleged, or that he thereafter procured Nxumalo and Dlamini to murder the doctor for a fee of R12 000.

He said Treasurer had an innocuous explanation for his presence in the vicinity of the murder that night, and for driving the killers to and from the scene.

“He did not know about the murder. They gave him a reason for being there that he accepted,” said Bahadur, adding that Treasurer had not even known the doctor.

He added that Treasurer had explained how he accidentally activated his cellphone that night, resulting in a “voicemail” call to Soni’s phone at 19:10, shortly after Sewram’s murder.

Bahadur said this explanation did not fit in with the “contradictory” versions given by Nxumalo and Dlamini, who claimed Treasurer called someone to report that the “job” had been done.

He argued further that the evidence of the key State witnesses — Pastor Thamsanqa Mkhize (Nxumalo’s confidante), Dlamini and Nxumalo — was “mutally destructive” and could not be relied on.

He said their evidence should be treated with extreme caution.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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