Double-murder accused Rameez Patel applies to be discharged over technicalities

2019-01-21 21:52
Rameez Patel with his Fatima, who was murdered in 2015. (File: Supplied)

Rameez Patel with his Fatima, who was murdered in 2015. (File: Supplied)

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Double-murder accused Rameez Patel's lawyers have applied for his discharge in the Limpopo High Court in Polokwane on Monday, arguing that some of the witnesses who have testified since the start of the trial were not sworn in properly.

The witnesses include Rameez's brother, Razeen, who in November 2018 gave explosive testimony in court implicating his brother in the murder of his wife, Fatima, in Nirvana, Polokwane, in 2015.

"Our submission is that he was not duly sworn in. We can invite all the parties to listen to the audio recording. In the records, it is captured as if he is an accused," Rameez's lawyer, advocate Meshack Thipe, told the court.

READ: Rameez Patel trial: Mysterious box containing slain Fatima Patel's belongings takes centre stage

Thipe referred to another witness, Steven Molope, who he said was also not sworn in properly in terms of section 162 of the Criminal Procedure Act. Molope had testified about the condition Rameez was in after the killing of his mother, Mahajeen.

However, Judge Joseph Raulinga indicated that arguing about the swearing in of Molope was futile.

"The evidence (of Molope) does not go to the crux of the case. He was only testifying about the condition of the accused after the death of his mother," Raulinga said.

Drama in court

Prosecutor advocate Lethabo Mashiane described the defence team's application for Rameez's discharge as "opportunistic" and "misleading".

Earlier, there was drama in court when Thipe and Raulinga engaged in a heated argument over the application for the dismissal of the case. The argument started just after Mashiane requested a short adjournment to familiarise himself with a 43-page heads of argument submission given to him by the defence.

He said the defence only handed him the heads of argument at 10:00.

Raulinga asked Thipe why the defence handed the heads of argument to the prosecution only on Monday. 

READ: Limpopo High Court hears details of the day Fatima Patel died

A fierce argument then ensued over whether the defence team, led by advocate Johann Engelbrecht, SC, had lodged the application when the court was adjourned on November 22, 2018. However, the defence team indicated it had only lodged an intention to apply for the discharge of Rameez.

A seemingly unimpressed Raulinga said: "This matter has been dragging for a long time. If courts are to achieve justice, every member of the court must act in utmost honesty.

Current wife implicated

"We took an oath to serve the people of this country without fear or favour. Anything below that is not acceptable. At the end of the day, justice must be served."

Rameez stands accused of killing his wife, Fatima, at their house in Nirvana, Polokwane, after an argument in 2015. His brother, Razeen, who has sought sanctuary in England after an attempt on his life, gave evidence during his testimony in court in November last year.  

Another witness, who cannot be named following a court order, also gave testimony implicating Rameez's current wife, Nazreen, in destroying the evidence after Fatima's murder.

Razeen told the court that he had told his mother, Mahajeen, about how Rameez allegedly killed his wife. Mahajeen was later also murdered at her house. Rameez was arrested for the murder and he is yet to stand trial for that case.

His father, Feroz, was also killed in what was said to be robbery, a few years ago. His father-in-law, Yunus Mayet, who is Nazreen's father, was also kidnapped and killed. Rameez has, however, not been linked to those murders. 

The trial will continue on Tuesday, January 22.

Read more on:    rameez patel  |  polokwane  |  courts  |  crime
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