Rajivee Soni.
Durban - Convicted murderer Rajivee Soni spent his first night in prison yesterday after he was found guilty of killing Pietermaritzburg doctor Bhavish Sewram.

After a prolonged trial, Judge Jacqueline Hendriques yesterday found Soni guilty on all six counts that included murder, conspiracy to murder, defeating the ends of justice (two counts) and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (two counts).

The charges related to a barrage of attacks on Sewram and his family shortly after Soni suspected his wife, Kerusha, was having an extramarital relationship with Sewram.

Sewram was shot dead on May13, 2013, outside his surgery on Old Greytown Road.

Prior to this, three other men were found guilty of Sewram’s murder and were handed life sentences. They were Sabelo Dlamini, who admitted firing the fatal shots that killed Sewram; his accomplice, Mfaniseni Nxumalo; and former policeman Brian Treasurer, who was hired by Soni to carry out the killing.

Dlamini had said in his evidence that Treasurer had transported him and his accomplice, Nxumalo, to and from the murder scene.

Dlamini also testified that after the shooting, Treasurer had made a cellphone call to someone and told them “the job is done”.

Judge Hendriques said in her judgment that Soni had suspected his wife, Kerusha, of having an affair with Sewram, and when his attempts to drive Sewram out of Pietermaritzburg failed, he decided to kill him.

“He decided to approach Treasurer whom he paid R100000, who in turn hired two other men to carry out the act. On the day in question, Soni had arranged that Treasurer would park on the opposite side of the road while one of the men would approach Sewram while he was leaving his surgery and shoot him. Dlamini approached Sewram and shot him several times.

“Treasurer then called Soni to let him know the job had been carried out,” said the judge.

Soni’s advocate Jimmy Howse asked for an adjournment until Friday so Soni could make arrangements to facilitate custodianship of his 11-year-old daughter.

But State prosecutor Johann du Toit argued that Soni, as a businessman, had contacts and the ability to skip the country. “He is terrified of being locked up in a cell. We heard how he was screaming the last time he was in a cell for an hour,” said Du Toit.

He added that Soni’s ex-wife was “more than happy to take care of both children”.

Judge Hendriques ordered that Soni’s bail be revoked and that he be sent to prison pending his appearance in court again tomorrow for sentencing. 

The Mercury