Judgement reserved in stalker appeal

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iol news pic Ghumman INLSA The Western Cape High Court reserved judgment on an appeal by Australian accountant Shumsheer Singh Ghumman against a nine-year prison sentence. File picture: Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town - The Western Cape High Court reserved judgment on Friday on an appeal by Australian accountant Shumsheer Singh Ghumman against a nine-year prison sentence.

It was imposed in May last year for the petrol bombing of the luxury Clifton home of businessman Philip Rhind.

Ghumman, 34, was found guilty by the Cape Town Regional Court on charges of fraud, incitement to commit murder, attempted murder and malicious damage.

Ghumman admitted the malicious damage charge, but pleaded not guilty to the others.

His appeal was against the sentence imposed on all four counts, taken as one for the purposes of punishment.

He also appealed the convictions on the fraud, incitement, and attempted murder charges, but not the conviction for malicious damage, as he had in fact pleaded guilty to this.

Ghumman is a former asset manager in the employ of a Japanese financial company based in London.

He had a platonic relationship with Rhind's daughter, Hannah, at the time an executive with a London pharmaceutical company.

The daughter had ended the relationship when Ghumman became too serious about it, and approached her father in her attempts to shake him off Ghumman was offended by the father's interference in the relationship, and followed the daughter secretly when she went home to her parents in 2009.

The Regional Court ruled that his purpose was to petrol bomb the Rhind home, as punishment for the father's interference in the relationship.

In the Regional Court, Ghumman appeared before magistrate Herman Pieters, who rejected his claim to have come to Cape Town on a freelance photo-journalistic mission, to take photographs and write reports about violence in the townships.

On the fraud charge, he falsely informed two senior Cape Town journalists of the reason for his visit to Cape Town, and duped one into setting up interviews for him with township criminals.

The true reason for his wish to make contact with township criminals, was to secure the assistance of someone to assist with the petrol bombing, the Regional Court ruled.

Ghumman in fact met someone who was willing to assist, and this led to the charges of incitement to commit murder and attempted murder.

However, Ghumman petrol bombed the home himself, without assistance, when the township contact withdrew from Ghumman's mission. - Sapa


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