Cape Town - A former Cape Town security company manager was on Friday sentenced to an effective seven years behind bars for a foiled assassination attempt on his then-business partner – ending a seven-year trial.
Grant Smith, wearing a black suit, stood motionless in the dock of the Cape Town Regional Court as magistrate Wilma van der Merwe sentenced him to nine years in jail, two of them suspended.
Sitting two rows behind him in the almost empty court room was Alan Kusevitsky, owner of City Bowl Armed Response and the man he plotted to have killed eight years ago.
“I think it is a very fair sentence,” Kusevitsky said after court proceedings ended.
“If he had me murdered, my family wouldn’t have a father.”
Kusevitsky said he was not surprised at Smith’s lack of remorse for the murder plot, which was highlighted by Van der Merwe in her sentencing.
“I didn’t expect him to throw his hands up in the air and say sorry for what went down. It’s not in his character,” he said, adding that “he was never remorseful for anything that I can ever remember”.
Smith was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in September in a trial that started in 2009 and dragged on for seven years.
He was found guilty of plotting to assassinate Kusevitsky in 2008 by getting his then-mistress Joanne Neethling, who was also the company’s paramedic head, to hire a hitman.
This came after Kusevitsky started to suspect Smith was defrauding the company.
But Kusevitsky got wind of the murder plot and assisted police in a sting operation that saw Neethling arrested when she handed over R15 000 in cash to an undercover police officer acting as a hitman.
She pleaded guilty to her role in the assasination attempt and was sentenced to three years’ in 2010.
During sentencing on Friday, Van der Merwe twice referred to Smith as the “puppet master” behind the whole plot.
While Neethling was caught with the money, Van der Merwe said Smith had to carry the “ultimate responsibility” for the scheme, as he was “pulling the strings”.
After sentencing, Smith’s lawyer William Booth was granted leave to appeal against both conviction and the severity of the sentencing.
Van der Merve did not extend Smith’s bail and he was led out of court in handcuffs.
Booth did, however, secure an urgent bail application to take place this week.
Smith will remain in custody until then.