Soni admits being in video

2015-10-23 09:15

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Pietermaritzburg - A disputed video recording featuring murder accused Rajivee Soni was finally viewed in the high court on Thursday.

It emerged that the seconds-long video clip does not contain any reference by name to murder victim Dr Bhavish Sewram, or a plan to kill him.

In part of the video, the speakers do, however, speak of a person being shot in the leg.

The defence has said it is placing the context in which the video was made in dispute, and lawyer Naren Sangham said yesterday that Soni would “give an explanation” for the recording if called to testify.

The state alleges the recording was made a day after the alleged author of the video — Professor Sithebe — had tipped Sewram off about Soni’s plans to kill him, and “lied” to Soni that he had shot at the doctor.

Sangham told the court yesterday the defence admits the video depicts Soni talking to someone whose face is not visible in the recording, and whose identity the defence was not prepared to admit.

Sangham said while agreeing that the video was admissible as evidence in the trial, the defence continues to dispute the video’s originality, that it was not tampered with, its authenticity and the alleged context in which it was made.

“We admit Mr Soni is one of the speakers. The only person’s conversation on that recording that is admitted are the words of the accused [Soni] … What has been said by the second speaker cannot be disputed, but what needs to be established is the context under which that conversation took place,” said Sangham.

He said the full transcript of the recording reveals the conversation was “quite unintelligible”.

“If put on his defence, Mr Soni will give an explanation for that recording,” he said.

Sangham, who is being assisted by three technical experts in connection with the video evidence, said they would lead evidence to show that the SIM card in the cellphone on which the video was recorded was “in active use” from May 7 to 17, 2013, at a time when witnesses have alleged it was untouched in a safe at a pawn shop prior to police retrieving it.

Sithebe gave brief evidence yesterday to confirm that he took the video while travelling in a car with Soni “close” to Sewram’s surgery.

He testified he made the recording on February 20, 2013.

The court has heard that Sewram was in fact murdered by gunman Sabelo Dlamini, who pleaded guilty to the crime, as he left his surgery on the night of May 13, 2013.

The trial was postponed to November 2 because the various expert witnesses who will testify were not available before then.

A PORTION of the transcript of the video recording which was handed to the court by the defence yesterday reads as follows:

Voice 2: So you never hit him on the leg?

Voice 1: I hit him on the leg.

Voice 2: How you got the leg? Oh, you came through the window?

Voice 1: Yes I climbed through the window — yes, sir.

Voice 2: And you sure you hit the leg?

Voice 1: I know, I know.

Voice 2: How many shots you gave?

Voice 1: I gave him one shot.

Voice 2: Only one shot?

Voice 1: Only one shot that I gave.

Voice 2: With a pump action?

Voice 1: No with a pistol. We had a pistol there yesterday.

Voice 2: Oh, you … (intervention)

Voice 1: I put it — there is a cushion in the car that I hide it with on the cushion because of — for the noise, yes, sir.

Voice 2: Okay, take this number

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  court  |  soni

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