The second bail hearing of Rameez Patel began on Tuesday when, in a surprise move, defence advocate Tumi Mokoena called Patel to the witness stand to inform the court what happened in January 2013 when he allegedly murdered Fanie Adams.
Patel, earlier released on R250 000 bail in the case of the alleged murder of his wife, Fatima Patel, now also stands accused of a second murder, that of Adams who allegedly entered the yard of his parents’ home in Jaipur Street, Nirvana in 2013. Rameez was apprehended on 31 July on the second charge.
Rameez said a call from his younger brother alerted him to a trespasser at his parents’ house. Arriving on the scene he allegedly found a commotion related to the incident playing out at the Oaklands shopping centre opposite his parent’s house. His brother allegedly told him the intruder in the yard escaped and he had followed him.
Primary investigating officer in the case, Mohladi Ramagobedi however, said he had a witness that testified how Rameez hit the deceased with a hockey stick at his parents’ house while his brother was told to record the beating. The deceased apparently lost consciousness and was allegedly dragged to the parking lot of the centre. Here Rameez allegedly hit the deceased and declined assistance from a bystander. He afterwards supposedly went to his own home and the bloodied clothes and hockey stick were destroyed the next day.
State prosecutor, Madelein Roelofse put it to Rameez that he had hit the deceased with a hockey stick after ordering his younger brother to give it to him and that he dragged the deceased to the parking lot and hit him further. She indicated similarities in the modus operandi: in the first case the deceased was hit with a hockey stick, in the second Fatima was hit with a cricket bat.
She then put it to the accused that he had violated the conditions of his bail by leaving the court’s jurisdiction going to the Thohoyandou cemetery without getting the written permission of the investigating officer. Mokoena though said that his client was permitted to visit the Thohoyandou cemetery after prayers on a Friday and on Eid.
Ramagobedi said he had not finalised his investigation in Vhembe and did not want the accused there and had told Mokoena this. Rameez had by then already left for Thohoyandou and the officer as well as the magistrate then went to his parents’ house.
The court further heard that the nanny of Patel’s children’s was taken to Rameez’s attorney to change the initial statement she had made to the Police. The investigating officer was informed about it and could stop the process before she signed the altered statement.
Ramagobedi said Rameez should not be released on bail as he would interfere with witnesses and endanger the safety of the public or particular persons, as he had already interfered with the nanny. He said Rameez will evade trial and that the state had a strong prima facie case against him. He said a third case of attempted murder is under investigation.
On Wednesday, an employee of Rameez’ father, who allegedly witnessed the murder, only known as Denford Gundidza, who was arrested in Thabazimbi on Friday, appeared before court represented by Mokoena. Objection was made to the fact that Gundidza was held longer than the permitted 48 hours before appearing in court, and before the magistrate, Ndivhuwo Munyai.
Mokoena in closing said Rameez was no flight risk, as he could have absconded when he was still under investigation and not yet arrested. Mokoena maintained that Adams died as the result of mob justice and accused the state of contradictory evidence in the version of the investigating officer. He further argued that Rameez was father and mother to his children and very close to them after they were uprooted by being removed from their home and their mother and nanny (who is now in a witness protection programme) was taken away from them.
Story: NELIE ERASMUS