Former security branch officer seeks stay of prosecution for Timol murder

2018-09-18 15:49
Former security branch officer sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Former security branch officer sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

The man accused of involvement in the murder of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Timol wants to apply for a permanent stay of prosecution so that he won't be tried for the activist's death 47 years ago.

Former security branch police sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues' advocate Jaap Cilliers, SC, told the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday that he intended to file an application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

"I have only been appointed to this matter very recently. The documents sent to me consists of volumes of papers. It is a huge matter to prepare for. We did indicate to the State that we consider and will probably bring an application for a stay," Cilliers told the court.

"The alleged murder took place approximately 47 years ago, so we consider and [will] probably bring an application for a stay in proceedings. And that would have to be formulated in a proper substantive application and would take time to prepare," he added.

READ: Ahmed Timol murder accused granted bail

Pre-trial conference proceedings were supposed to proceed on Tuesday but were postponed after the defence requested more time to read through documentation submitted.

Prosecutors Sifiso Khumalo and Shubnum Singh also told the court there were still issues that the State and defence needed to attend to before proceedings could continue.

The matter must be dealt with quickly

Judge Ramarumo Monama postponed the case to October 15, saying that it was paramount that pre-trial proceedings be dealt with so that the trial could finally kick off.

"If the matter is 47 years old, it needs to be attended to as quickly as possible," Monama said.

He added that the court was only interested in pre-trial conference proceedings at this stage.

Monama also warned prosecutors to supply the defence with all the documents they needed during the postponement period.

Once the defence files the application, the State will respond in writing, and a date will be set for arguments.

Rodrigues getting older

A permanent stay of prosecution will mean that Rodrigues will not be prosecuted for his alleged involvement in Timol's murder.

Timol's nephew Imtiaz Cajee told journalists outside court: "Our concern has always been the age of Rodrigues. Every day goes on and he is getting older and moving closer to his grave."

He added that the family's position has been consistent and that it wants answers from Rodrigues.

"It is in his interest to make a full disclosure and share with the family and the country as to what really transpired at Room 1026 at the notorious John Vorster Square police station," he said.

Cajee added that, as a family, they were prepared to accommodate Rodrigues if he was willing to disclose everything.

"We should not forget that he failed to apply for amnesty at the TRC hearings in 1996. The TRC failed to subpoena him…," he added.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria found last year that Timol, as his family maintained, died at the hands of the apartheid security branch police while in detention.

Judge Billy Mothle found that Timol did not meet his death because he committed suicide, but that he "died as a result of having been pushed to fall, an act which was committed by members of the security branch with dolus eventualis as a form of intent, and prima facie amounting to murder".

Rodrigues remains out on bail.

Read more on:    ahmed timol  |  courts

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Data Analyst

Cape Town
Tumaini Consulting
R540 000.00 - R800 000.00 Per Year

Imports Controller

Cape Town
Professional Career Services
R10 000.00 - R12 000.00 Per Month


Cape Town
Mass Staffing Projects
R400 000.00 - R600 000.00 Per Year

Property [change area]

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.