Charge laid against Ratte investigators

2010-11-05 19:04

Johannesburg - A charge of obstruction of justice had been laid against the investigating officers in the case against rightwinger Willem Ratte on Friday, the Herstigte Nasionale Party (HNP) said on Friday.

Member of the Pretoria district executive, Edwin Clarke, said he based the charge on the fact that no evidence could be found for any of the charges made against Ratte.

"When Ratte appeared in court, new charges were made up to keep in him in custody for longer," Clarke said.

He said in a statement that these unprovable charges kept Ratte in custody, and because no lawful charge could be made against him, the legal process could not continue and therefore not be concluded.

"This comes down to obstruction of justice."

The Witbank police could not be reached for comment.

This came after Ratte was granted R2 000 bail in the Witbank Magistrate's Court on Monday, his lawyer Jurg Prinsloo said.

"He (Ratte) has to pay R2 000 in cash, he must report once a week to a police station indicated to him, he may not travel outside the borders of South Africa until the case is finalised, and if he comes across his passport, which he believes is in the possession of police, he must hand it in to the investigating officer."

Ratte and nine other people were arrested during a police raid on his Balmoral, Mpumalanga farm in September.

Most of those arrested with him have since been released on bail. The group faces preliminary charges relating to the possession of dagga and unlicensed firearms.

Ratte had been on a hunger strike for about 30 days, Prinsloo said. He would be examined by a doctor as soon as he was released.

"He will immediately go to a medical doctor so that he gets examined. He has been on a hunger strike for a substantial amount of time and needs to start the rehabilitation process."

Prinsloo maintained the charges should be withdrawn and said he would make further representations on the matter.

The only crime Ratte was accused of, according to the charge sheet at the court, is illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, he said.

The case was postponed to November 30 for further investigation.