The man contesting a court’s finding that he hired a hitman to murder his wife in a staged hijacking had told medical experts “blatant lies” in an attempt to advance his case, the State has argued.
State advocate Attie Truter questioned the findings of medical experts consulted by the defence – Professor Lourens Schlebusch, Dr Prema Laban and Dr Brenda Bosch.
He said their assessments of Rajiv Sewnarain were based on what he told them and were not objective.
Sewnarain has asked the Pietermaritizburg High Court to set aside the conviction and sentence handed down by the Durban Regional Court and order that he be given a new trial.
He said he was forced to make a confession and denied having played any role in the death of his wife, Shanaaz.
Truter submitted that the experts’ acceptance of Sewnarain’s “patchy recollection” as the truth had been “entirely subjective and selective”.
None of the experts had been mandated to approach the case objectively by consulting the people who had interacted with Sewnarain during his confession to magistrate Anita Govender and his subsequent guilty plea before regional court magistrate Sharon Marks, Truter said.
Sewnarain said that when he pleaded guilty to killing his wife, Shanaaz, shortly after she died in December 2010, he had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and “survivor guilt”.
He alleged he was assaulted and intimidated by the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Vinesh Panday, and was coerced into confessing and pleading guilty.
Yoga Moodley, SC, is to respond for Sewnarain before Judges Kevin Swain and Jacqui Henriques on Thursday morning.
It is expected that judgment will be reserved.