Ahmed Timol murder: Apartheid cop's application for permanent stay of prosecution fails

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Former security branch police sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues
Former security branch police sergeant Joao Jan Rodrigues
Deaan Vivier, Gallo Images, Netwerk24
  • Apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues lost an application for a permanent stay of prosecution for the murder of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol.
  • The SCA delivered its judgment on Monday. 
  • Rodrigues was charged with Timol's murder in 2018. 

The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has dismissed Joao Rodrigues' bid for a permanent stay of prosecution for the murder of anti-apartheid activist, Ahmed Timol.

Rodrigues previously argued that the delay in his case was not systemic, but deliberate.

READ | Ahmed Timol murder: Rodrigues still has an opportunity to make a full disclosure - family

On Monday, the SCA said it was "... not persuaded the appellant has established that he has or will likely suffer trial-related prejudice if he is not granted a permanent stay of prosecution and is brought to trial. The trial court will be best suited to deal with any issues of potential prejudice. The appeal must, accordingly, fail".

Rodrigues was charged with Timol's murder in 2018 after a second inquest, led by Judge Billy Mothle, ruled the death was not suicide, News24 previously reported.

Timol died in 1971 after falling from the 10th floor of the then John Vorster Square police station, now known as the Johannesburg central station. 

Rodrigues worked as a security branch officer at the time of Timol's death. SCA Acting Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said the fact that Rodrigues had been charged with premeditated murder, while Mothle, in his ruling, referred to him as an "accessory does not in my [his] view, assist the appellant because the judge did not prescribe the charges to be preferred against the appellant. The NPA has the prerogative to formulate charges based on the available evidence". 

Ledwaba added: "It should be noted that the appellant did not apply for amnesty during the second period (1994-2002) and that it is common cause that those who did not apply for amnesty accepted the risk of future criminal prosecution."

Ledwaba said Rodrigues had been furnished with copies of the police docket, a summary of substantial facts and the indictment.

"His version of the events of 27 October 1971 in the inquest in no way suggests that his memory has faded due to old age as he contended before us."  

Ledwaba added: 

"It is interesting to note that the appellant seeks a permanent stay of the proceedings in respect of the murder charge only. However, the evidence that would be presented by the State in respect of the second charge of defeating the ends of justice or obstructing justice is inextricably interwoven with the death of Timol. One is left wondering as to the appellant’s stratagem in this regard."

Do you want to know more about this topic? Sign up for one of News24's 33 newsletters to receive the information you want in your inbox. Special newsletters are available to subscribers.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Show Comments ()
Voting Booth
Do you think the wardens deployed across Gauteng will make a dent in curbing crime?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
No, proper policing is needed
80% - 2674 votes
Yes, anything will help at this point
20% - 670 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.