Judge furious over delays in Timol murder case of former apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues

Judge furious over delays in Timol murder case of former apartheid cop Joao Rodrigues

Former apartheid police officer Joao Rodrigues appears at the at the South Gauteng high court, Rodrigues 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. Gauteng. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

The former cop is appealing a judgment by the high court which dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution.

The judge presiding over the criminal case of apartheid-era cop Joao “Jan” Rodrigues is furious over the delays that are halting proceedings.

This comes as a date is yet to be set for Rodrigues’ defence to argue its leave to appeal application.

The former cop is appealing a judgment by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg which dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution in June.

Rodrigues appeared in the Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday, where Judge Ramarumo Monama said it was unacceptable that orders were being handed down that appeared to be meaningless.

He said he would be approaching the judge president responsible for the case to ask that a date for arguments be expedited for the case to progress.

“There are people who have walked a long way to have come where we are today in order to get some kind of finality. We can’t allow lawfare tactics.

“Hence, I have said I may in due course, during the course of this case management, subpoena or order that the state attorney becomes involved because he is the one instructing this matter,” Monama said.

The former cop has applied for leave to appeal a Gauteng High Court judgment that dismissed his application for a permanent stay of prosecution in June.

Rodrigues made a brief appearance in the High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

He is seeking leave to appeal the judgment in the Supreme Court of Appeal, or alternatively in front of a full bench of the High Court.

News24 previously reported that Rodrigues’ legal team had given 11 reasons why they believed the court had misdirected itself when handing down the unanimous historic ruling earlier this month.

The apartheid cop is accused of involvement in the murder of anti-apartheid activist and teacher Ahmed Timol.

Timol died in 1971 after he “fell” from the 10th floor of John Vorster Square, now called the Johannesburg Central Police Station.

Timol was arrested in 1971 at the age of 29. The police who interrogated him at the time, including Rodrigues, claimed that he had thrown himself out of a window. In 2017, Timol’s family disputed this, insisting that he had been thrown out of the window by the police.

The National Prosecuting Authority then opened an inquest, which rejected the 1972 report that Timol had committed suicide.

Timol’s nephew, Imtiaaz Cajee, who had initiated the reopening of the inquest, has joined the NPA and two other government departments in opposing Rodrigues’ leave to appeal application.

Monama postponed the matter to September 25 in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg, where a way forward is to be announced.

Rodrigues’ bail was extended.

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