Soni’s new team point out presence of former lawyer in court

2017-08-15 13:40
Murder accused Rajivee Soni.

Murder accused Rajivee Soni. (File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The presence of murder accused Rajivee Soni’s ex-attorney in the public gallery at the high court on Monday was apparently not welcomed by his new legal team.

Advocate Christo van Schalkwyk, SC, who is now appearing for Soni along with Advocate Jimmy Howse — both instructed by local attorney A.K. Ayoob — told Judge Jacqueline Henriques and her assessor that he was instructed to place on record that Soni’s former attorney, Naren Sangham, was seated in the public gallery “next to the investigating officer” both before and after yesterday’s tea adjournment.

Sangham was fired by Soni at the end of last year and replaced with a new legal team.

Van Schalkwyk said much of Soni’s cross examination by state advocate Johan du Toit involved questions arising from what was put by Sangham to the state witnesses who testified in the trial.

“Because he [Soni] is under cross examination we have not discussed the matter with him,” said Van Schalkwyk. “I simply want it recorded at this stage and I will follow up on the matter,” he said.

Under cross examination on Monday Soni was asked questions relating to his relationship with senior Pietermaritzburg police officers, Captain Pipes Haffajee (formerly attached to the Serious and Violent Crimes Unit) and Brigadier Francis Bantham, as well as Captain Chantal Norman (wife of key state witness and ex-Mountain Rise policeman, Sugen Naidoo).

Du Toit suggested to him that in his evidence Soni appeared to have “expanded” the closeness of his friendship with Norman “far beyond” what was put to state witnesses.

Soni has disputed Sugen Naidoo’s version that the two of them were good friends and said his friendship was always with Naidoo’s wife, Chantal Norman.

He said he was introduced to Bantham by Norman and may have discussed with her (as well as with Haffajee) a “property deal” he was trying to close to get the SAPS to relocate the Family and Sexual Violence Unit (FCS) to one of his premises.

He said he got to know Haffajee following a robbery at his home in 2011. “I would not say we were very good friends,” said Soni when asked about their relationship.

Questioned about many calls made from his phone to Haffajee’s and vice versa, Soni said he spoke to Haffajee many times about the robbery case and possibly about the property deal.

In his evidence Soni has accused Sugen Naidoo of extorting large sums of money from him at various times under threat of having him arrested on false charges if he did not pay up.

Du Toit suggested to him that since he had the cellphone numbers of Bantham and Haffajee on his phone, he could have called them to report Sugen Naidoo’s alleged extortion.

Soni said after the protection order against him was lifted he did report Sugen Naidoo to Bantham, who said she had appointed a team to investigate various such allegations.

“Yet no charge was ever laid,” Du Toit remarked.

Du Toit also suggested to Soni that he has fabricated a version to explain his dealings with state witness Professor Sithebe, who testified that Soni offered to pay him R100 000 to kill Dr Bhavish Sewram.

This was denied by Soni.

Soni has testified that in fact Sithebe told him that Sewram had offered money to him to “sort out” Soni.

The case is proceeding.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  soni murder trial

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
Watch: Investing in the future through child development

An investment of R32-million into 11 early childhood development centres is changing the future for children in the Northern Cape.

/News
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.