Rameez Patel’s defence team welcomes top SA advocate

POLOKWANE – Rameez Patel, who is currently standing trial for the murder on his wife Fatima in Nirvana three years ago, has through his new advocate, Meshack Thipe, announced that he plans to get one of South Africa’s most experienced advocates, Johann Engelbrecht SC, who has been acting as a judge prior, to assist him in the defence of Patel.

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Engelbrecht was involved in some high profile court cases, including that of Najwa Peterson, Taliep Peterson’s wife, Cezanne Visser (‘Advocate Barbie’), Mark Scott-Crossley and Bob Hewitt.

On Tuesday, the case against Patel was postponed to 18 April.

Judge Joseph Raulinga had to rule again in a trial within a trial when Thipe on Monday protested against the ruling that Razeen Patel, Rameez’s brother, will be recalled as witness and that his testimony would apparently radically differ from previous statements once he takes the stand.

Read more: Patel case: defense wants to pin mother’s murder on brother

Issues such as possible findings on the credibility of both Tumi Mokoena, former defence lawyer of Rameez, as well as the witness’ credibility, were discussed and the matter weighed against former cases to determine if Razeen should be allowed to take the witness stand again.

State Prosecutor Mashudu Mudau argued that the situation at the house before and after Fatima’s murder will be addressed by Razeen when testifying, as will the question of what happened to the first set of clothes Rameez Patel wore after the murder.

This has thus far not been handed over to the police.

He said the question before court is who killed the deceased and why.

He admitted that contradictory evidence will be submitted, but said the witness will explain why he at first did not supply certain evidence.

He said the evidence was essential for justice to prevail in this case.

The judge in the end compared various cases and ruled that it would be essential and in the interest of justice if Razeen be recalled and take the witness stand again.

He said it seems the testimony would be material and relevant for the outcome of the case.

Raulinga wanted the case to carry on after he ruled on Razeen Patel’s giving evidence on Tuesday, as the state’s two last witnesses were available, but Thipe said Engelbrecht will assist in the case and he could not yet talk to him to determine a date when he would be available.

As such the case could not go on.

Raulinga said Mokoena has indicated prior that he has withdrawn permanently, Adv Legodi has taken over and was again replaced by Thipe, who said Engelbrecht was to assist him in the case.

Raulinga said no further postponements would be allowed, as the case has dragged on for too long.

On 18 April it would be determined when Engelbrecht would be available for the trial to continue, and, should there be further postponements, Patel will be made to handle his own defence, Raulinga said.

Rameez Patel is to appear in the Magistrate’s Court early next week to hear if bail will be granted in the case where he stands accused of the murder of his mother.

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  AUTHOR
Nelie Erasmus

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