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Durban - A KwaZulu-Natal man's 15-year prison sentence for his involvement in a murder of his uncle was set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal on Thursday.
Beenesh Dewnath approached the court after the KwaZulu-Natal High Court convicted him of murder.
William Themba Sithole pleaded guilty to the charge and testified during the trial that Dewnath's parents hired him to kill his uncle.
He said Dewnath was in another room during the negotiations but did say something - words which the High Court regarded as him encouraging Sithole to commit the crime.
In a unanimous judgment, the SCA found Dewnath's utterances to Sithole were insufficient to conclude that he acted in common purpose with his parents.
“The appellant's utterances are at best to be regarded as evidence that he had some knowledge of the plan that was in the process of being hatched to kill the deceased,” the judgment read.
“However, his mere knowledge and approval of the commission of the murder does not suffice; proof of some form of active participation is required for a conviction on the charge.”
The conviction and sentence were set aside.