Convicted killer Pranesh Heeralall has paid R500 000 for his freedom.
Heeralall was convicted last week of killing his business partner Deenadayalan Govender and his bail of R20 000 had been revoked by retired Judge Thumba Pillay. Heeralall hired hitman Bobo Chamane to carry out the murder in 2004.
Judge Thumba Pillay
After a trial that lasted more than five years, Judge Pillay found Heeralall and Chamane guilty of murder and sentenced them to 25 years and 20 years in prison respectively.
Heeralall had Govender killed to claim from an insurance policy he had taken out on him (Govender). Each had taken a policy on each other to ensure that their joint business would not fall into debt if either died.
On Thursday, Judge Pillay granted Heeralall bail of R500 000 pending his appeal against his conviction as he said there were substantial and compelling circumstances to warrant his release.
Heeralall’s advocate, Yoga Moodley SC, had argued that Heeralall owned a profitable plumbing business, properties, including a R1.6 million home in Umhlanga Rocks, and had substantial savings of R940 000.
“He is a devout husband, father and a well-established businessman… If he is sent to jail, it is possible that his business would close and there could be foreclosures on his properties.”
State advocate Rema Mahabeer said the state was opposed to bail being granted.
Mahabeer said that sexual predator Ismail Sheik, who is at large after failing to hand himself to the authorities after his appeal was struck off the roll last year, was also a businessman and had had strong family ties to KZN.
“In that case it was an act of desperation… Heeralall’s assets would make it easier for him to escape compared to other convicted people.”
Judge Pillay imposed strict bail conditions on Heeralall and ordered him to report daily to the Umhlanga Rocks police station, surrender his travel documents to police, and to inform the investigating officer if he wished to leave the province.