Rameez Patel double murder trial: 'I'm smelling a rat here' - judge on court records

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Double murder-accused Rameez Patel
Double murder-accused Rameez Patel
PHOTO: Deaan Vivier
  • It emerged during the trial of double murder-accused Rameez Patel that certain records have not been transcribed despite several rulings.
  • Judge Joseph Raulinga previously revealed strange developments in the case, which included his notes being tampered with and a statement going missing.
  • Patel is on trial for allegedly killing his wife at their marital home in Polokwane in 2015.

The trial of double murder-accused Rameez Patel took an interesting turn in the Polokwane High Court this week when it emerged certain records – including the explosive testimony of his brother Razeen – had not been transcribed, despite several rulings.

Judge Joseph Raulinga, who made the rulings last year, turned his focus to the registrars on Wednesday.

"I'm smelling a rat here. I've been singing the same song for long that the records must be transcribed.

He said: 

The other day, I spoke about the registrar excusing herself when she was supposed to administer an oath to witnesses. I have my own suspicions and I don't have to disclose the reasons for now.

He adjourned the court for a while, for the three registrars to be called in.

After they had given their version, Raulinga ruled all the court recordings must be transcribed by 31 April 2021.

He also pointed out that at some stage a CD containing certain recordings was given to the defence in violation of standing procedures.

Wife, mother killed

In 2019, Raulinga revealed his notes had been tampered with and a statement had gone missing.

Patel is on trial for allegedly killing his wife, Fatima, in their marital home in Nirvana, Polokwane on 10 April 2015.

He will also later stand trial for the murder of his mother, Muhajeen. She was killed allegedly to silence her about Fatima's killing.

His father, Firoz, was also killed in an unresolved robbery. Yunus Mayet, the father of his current wife Nazreen, was kidnapped and killed.

His younger brother, Razeen, who later gave explosive evidence implicating him in the killing of his wife, was shot, but survived.

However, Patel is not linked to the three crimes.

Earlier on Wednesday, prosecutor Lethabo Mashiane put it to Patel that his brother's testimony showed he had followed him wearing different sets of clothes. The brother also suggested he might have taken a shower because his hair was wet.

It was also put to Patel that Razeen had testified the accused confessed to him he had killed his wife. They followed each other to the house where they found her lying in a pool of blood.

Ceiling compartment

Later that day, the police requested Rameez to hand over the clothes he had been wearing earlier.

Rameez replied: 

I was arrested on 16 April [2015]. They (police investigators) came to prison and requested the other clothes I was wearing that [day]. That was weeks after my arrest.

He said he gave them permission to get the other clothes.

Among the clothes was a wet jacket.

Patel denied he had deliberately hidden the baseball bat – that was also apparently used in the crime – in the ceiling.

He said the house had two compartments in the ceiling where sport equipment was stored.

Patel's lawyer, Meshack Thipe, objected to the State's line of questioning, arguing it was causing confusion.

The trial will resume on 7 July 2021.

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