Doctor's widow welcomes life sentences for killers

2015-09-18 10:05
Ex-policeman Brian Treasurer removes his jewellery before being led down to the holding cells after being sentenced to life imprisonment. (The Witness)

Ex-policeman Brian Treasurer removes his jewellery before being led down to the holding cells after being sentenced to life imprisonment. (The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The sentencing of two men for their role in the murder of Pietermaritzburg doctor Bhavish Sewram has brought his family a step closer to finding out the truth behind his killing.

This was according to Sewram’s widow Yuvadia as ex-policeman Brian Treasurer, 55, and Mfaniseni Nxumalo, 37, were found guilty on Thursday of his murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.

An emotional Yuvadia said she was happy Judge Anton van Zyl had taken a firm stance against her late husband’s killers.

She said the next stage in getting closure would be the outcome of the trial of the alleged mastermind of the murder, businessman Rajivee Soni, whose case resumes before a different judge on September 28.

Soni was named by Nxumalo as being the “friend” on whose behalf Treasurer said he was asked to have Sewram killed “because the doctor was in love with his wife”.

The court had also heard from Treasurer that he had “accidentally” placed a call to Soni from his car on the night the doctor was killed.

This was one aspect of Treasurer’s evidence that Van Zyl said was “highly improbable”.

The judge said it was clear that there was a “principal, whether it was Soni or someone else”, behind Sewram’s murder, who had offered Treasurer and Nxumalo “some benefit” to arrange the doctor’s killing.

The evidence of the actual shooter, Sabelo Dlamini, revealed he was paid R12 000 for the murder, but it was not known how Treasurer and Nxumalo had benefitted.

The judge found that the men deserved life sentences as neither had shown any remorse, and had taken the life of another human being after careful planning and pre-meditation.

The men were each also sentenced to additional sentences of 15 years’ imprisonment for “joint” possession of the gun used to shoot the doctor, but this sentence would automatically run concurrently with the life terms.

Van Zyl refused to grant Treasurer and Nxumalo leave to appeal their convictions and sentences, saying another court was unlikely to come to different conclusions.

This also meant that Treasurer had no grounds to be granted an extension of his bail, as requested by his attorney Bob Bahadur.

Sewram’s parents, Parmanand and Nalini Sewram, said the judgment and sentence had restored their faith in the criminal justice system, even though the pain of losing their son would remain forever.

Judge Van Zyl said the objective evidence of CCTV footage showing Treasurer’s movements on the night in question, and the probabilities, all pointed to his guilt.

He accepted as reliable and truthful the evidence of Dlamini, who testified that Treasurer had handed him the cocked firearm before the shooting, and explained to him in “great detail” how to ambush Sewram.

These details included when the doctor would switch off the light in his surgery, lock up the premises and make his way to his car parked outside, where he should be shot.

The judge said this showed that Sewram had been carefully watched to establish his movements and revealed the planning involved in his murder.

Van Zyl rejected Nxumalo and Treasurer’s evidence that they had been “innocent roleplayers”.

He said it was aggravating that neither of them was indigent or starving.

Treasurer had said he was a pensioner receiving a grant of R7 000 after being medically boarded by the police service.

He had also testified to having access to cash, giving his “fishing buddy” R72 000 to keep on his behalf prior to his arrest.

Treasurer had told the court he “gambled and played the horses”, implying these were profitable pursuits, said the judge.

He said Nxumalo, though orphaned at a young age, having a grade two education and being illiterate, had also “made something of himself” and had his own grass-cutting business and other machinery.

Judge Van Zyl said the doctor’s murder had affected many lives.

“One can only imagine the trauma the deceased’s [doctor’s] father must have experienced when he identified the body of his son in the mortuary.”

He said the families of the two accused would also suffer.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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