Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg businessman Rajivee Soni’s trial in connection with the murder of local doctor Bhavish Sewram will resume on November 14 and is expected to last a month.
The date was finalised on Monday and officially confirmed when Soni made a brief appearance in the high court in Durban before Judge Jacqeline Henriques.
The judge was informed that the state and defence teams hope to wrap up the evidence between November 14 and December 15 this year in the Pietermaritzburg high court with Soni’s new legal team, advocates Christo van Schalkwyk SC and Jimmy Howse, who are instructed by Pietermaritzburg attorney A.K. Ayoob.
They replace Pietermaritzburg lawyer Naren Sangham. Reasons for the switch in lawyers have not been publicly revealed.
Soni was arrested in connection with Sewram’s murder in August 2013 and he has remained on R100 000 bail since then.
His trial started in the Pietermaritzburg high court in May last year.
The state alleges that Soni masterminded a plan in which hired hitman Sabelo Dlamini shot Sewram outside his surgery in Chota Motala Road on the night of May 13, 2013.
He faces other charges including conspiracy to murder the doctor on a prior occasion in February 2013 and defeating the ends of justice, which arise from an alleged vendetta by Soni to force the doctor to leave town. Soni’s alleged motive is that he suspected the doctor of having an affair with his wife.
Sewram’s father, Parmanand Sewram, said last night the family is disappointed that the trial is only scheduled to resume at the end of the year. “This prolongs our agony as we cannot find closure,” he said.