JOHANNESBURG, 15 October – Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues briefly appeared in the high court in Johannesburg on Monday where he notified the court that he wants to bring two applications including one for a permanent stay of prosecution based on his age and for further particulars to be obtained.
Rodrigues, 80, who was an officer in the apartheid-era police’s feared security branch, is accused of being part of a group of policemen who murdered Ahmed Timol while he was in custody in 1971.
During his last appearance in September, Rodrigues had indicated that he intends to apply for a stay to permanently avoid prosecution.
On Monday when the State was ready to reply to the first application, Rodrigues’s legal team presented another application.
Judge Ramarumo Monama expressed his concern saying he would not tolerate any delaying tactics.
He ordered Rodrigues’s legal team to submit all the applications they intend to bring by Friday.
Imtiaz Cajee, the nephew of Ahmed Timol, said they are happy the judge has given Rodrigues’s legal team a time frame.
“We are hoping and praying that these legal delays from the Rodrigues defence team comes to an end and court proceedings commences,” he said.
Cajee said they wanted to hear on what grounds Rodrigues thought he should be granted a permanent stay of prosecution.
“We would like to understand on what grounds are they seeking permanent stay of prosecution and we haven’t heard anything to date.”
The decision to charge Rodrigues nearly five decades after Timol fell to his death from the 10th-floor of Johannesburg’s police headquarters followed a review of the inquest that initially ruled his death a suicide.
Timol, 29, was arrested in Johannesburg in October 1971 and died five days later.
Officers said at the time he took his own life – a verdict that was endorsed by an inquest in 1972 but finally overturned by a court in October 2017 after a long campaign by his family.
Judge Billy Mothle recommended that prosecutors reconsider Rodrigues’ role in Timol’s murder.
Rodrigues faces charges of murder and defeating the ends of justice.
The matter was postponed to October 22.
– African News Agency (ANA)