Soni trial phone video

2015-10-02 08:57
Rajivee Soni

Rajivee Soni

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Pietermaritzburg - The high court  heard evidence relating to a cellphone allegedly containing a video of businessman ­Rajivee Soni discussing a plan to kill Dr Bhavish Sewram.

An assistant manager at Cash Crusaders said the police came to the store in May 2013 and seized the cellphone.

He confirmed the phone had been “pawned” by Professor Mlungisi Sithebe, who alleges that Soni offered to pay him R100 000 to kill the doctor.

Sithebe told Judge Jacqueline Henriques and assessor, Gerhard Barnard earlier this week that he had taken the video on his cellphone whilst Soni was driving him to Sewram’s Northdale surgery, and they were discussing the murder plot.

Sithebe testified that as a Christian he could not kill anyone, and he later alerted Sewram to the plot against him.

It is understood that the prosecution intends to introduce the video into evidence in the trial, but to do so must prove the authenticity of the video, and that the memory card on which the video is allegedly stored, was not tampered with.

Sithebe told the court that he had sent a copy of the recording he made via Bluetooth to his fiancée’s phone. He later pawned his phone for R800 at Cash Crusaders, leaving it in the store with the memory card still inside.

He said the police subsequently seized the phone from there after he told them of the existence of the recording.

Nowel Mvura, assistant manager at Cash Crusaders, said he recalls the incident.

He showed the court a copy of the contract he had drawn up for Sithebe in respect of the cellphone in question and said he knows Sithebe because he “often does business” with them.

“You may call it pawning, but we call it buy-back,” he told the court.

How it works is that a customer brings in an item of value, such as a cellphone, and after evaluating it, Mvura will offer the client a sum of money. If the client agrees to it, he is paid the money, and leaves the item behind.

High value items worth over R500 are placed in a safe for 30 days. The client may after 30 days collect or “buy back” his goods at 23% interest.

Mvura said he gave Sithebe R800 for the cellphone on May 7, 2015, and placed it in the safe.

It remained there untouched until police collected it sometime before the 30- day period expired, he said.

State advocate Johan du Toit told the court he had also planned to lead an expert yesterday concerning technical aspects of cellphones, videos and memory cards.

However defence attorney Naren Sangham said before the evidence is led the defence would like to consult their own expert.

Further witnesses will take the stand today

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder  |  court  |  soni

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