Soni moved to prison hospital

2018-10-01 14:29
Convicted murderer Rajivee Soni.

Convicted murderer Rajivee Soni.

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Convicted murderer Rajivee Soni spent just two nights in a cell at New Prison in Napierville before taking “ill” and being moved to the facility’s hospital.

The businessman who got assassins to take out his erstwhile friend, doctor Bhavish Sewram outside his Chota Motala Road surgery on May 13, 2013 was found guilty last week.

His defence team claim it was a “crime of passion”, motivated by an “emotional storm” suffered by Soni over Sewram’s affair with his wife Kerusha.

In lobbying for his bail to be revoked, state advocate Johan du Toit said; “He [Soni] does not want to go into a cell. He is terrified.”

Du Toit was adamant that Soni would hightail it out of the country, for fear of being incarcerated. Judge Jacqueline Henriques ruled in his favour and cancelled bail.

That afternoon, Soni was ushered directly to New Prison and returned to court a day later, on Friday. Argument was heard on what his sentence should be because the life sentence is applicable.

Soni’s advocate, Jimmy Howse, highlighted that the businessman was suffering from hypertension and coronary disease, for which he was on medication, as well as depression. He also asked the court to consider the Schabir Shaik case.

Shaik, a former financial adviser to former president Jacob Zuma, had served just two years and four months of his 15-year sentence for fraud and corruption when he was granted medical parole after he was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The acting area commissioner for correctional services, Vusumuzi Ndlovu finally confirmed to Weekend Witness what sources have been saying all week, that Soni is in hospital.

Although tight-lipped with specifics and details, Ndlovu said Soni was in the prison hospital for “observation”.

Sources were sceptical that Soni was indeed sick and needed to be in hospital.

The doctor’s father, Parmanand Sewram, said he hopes Soni gets well soon.

His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Among the facts the judge has to ponder over in deciding on an appropriate sentence, is that in terms of Soni’s divorce settlement with his ex-wife Kerusha (reached in December 2017), he is the “primary caregiver” of their daughter.

And in terms of South African law, courts have to take into account what the effect will be on a child if the primary caregiver is sent to prison.

Another is Soni’s legal team referring to the high number of historic cases in which infidelity was viewed as a mitigating factor, having the effect of lowering sentences. His advocates Christo van Schalkwyk, SC, and Howse argued that the “emotional storm” suffered by Soni due to his marital problems was reason for the court not to sentence him to life imprisonment.

Sentencing will take place on October 26.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  soni murder trial

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