Murder accused Rameez Patel will be protected by privately hired security personnel, which may include sharpshooters, as soon as the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court finalises his formal bail application in his favour.
In an exclusive interview with Polokwane Observer one of Patel’s closest friends revealed the extent to which he was willing to go to protect the accused the moment he was released on bail. The friend spoke on condition that his identity be kept anonymous.
“It is clear that people don’t like Rameez and after witnessing it for myself we decided that all necessary precautions will be taken to keep him safe,” the friend said, alleging that the entire situation was a business complot against Patel.
He described Rameez as a good guy who loved his wife excessively. “He had normal fights but would never hurt Fatima. They have been married secretly for two years because their parents would not approve of the marriage. What type of guy who does that, would kill his wife?” Rameez’s friend asked, adding that Rameez had been very sympathetic towards Fatima’s family until the time of his arrest.
After nearly a month behind bars for the suspected killing of his wife on 10 April, the Polokwane Magistrate’s Court has still not come to conclusion in his formal bail application.
On Tuesday two groups of protesters, those pro Rameez and those against, picketed in front of the court building while the court learnt that Patel asked Tumi Mokwena, also defending Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Leader, Julius Malema, to take over from Stefanie Fourie who represented him in his earlier appearances.
Last Thursday the defence led by Fourie was to continue cross examining the investigating officer David Nkuna who indicated to the court that he was not emotionally fit to continue with the cross examination. Before Magistrate Mohamed Shaik could suggest a short break, Nkuna collapsed in the witness stand and was removed from the premises by ambulance.
The court then called Community Police Forum member Tobias Botha to the stand after which the case was postponed to Tuesday.
Tuesday in court
State prosecutor Mark von Dronik explained Nkuna was well and dismissed from hospital, but will not be able to testify until 20 May as he is still studying for upcoming exams. Pathologist Thakadu Mamasela was called to the witness stand. Mamasela testified that he had examined Fatima’s body at around 22:30 the day of the killing. He testified that Fatima had sustained antemortem (prior to death) injuries. He described them as facial injuries caused by blunt force and which, even without a gunshot to the face, would have been fatal. To Von Dronik’s question if the injuries to her face might have been caused by a blunt object such as a fist Mamasela answered positively.
After lunch and several arguments from the state and the defence, Shaik ruled that the case be postponed until 20 and 21 May after Von Dronik said that Nkuna’s evidence is crucial for the bail application hearing to be finalised. Mokwena’s application that the court date be scheduled earlier as Nkuna, according to the state, was well again, was rejected by Shaik.