I was framed, says Najwa Petersen

Najwa Petersen says she was framed for the murder of her husband, internationally renowned entertainer Taliep Petersen, and that they had been planning to go on an overseas holiday together.

She made the claims in an affidavit handed in to Cape Town’s Wynberg Regional Court on Thursday as part of her second bail application, launched on the basis of what her legal team says are “at least” ten new factors.

One of them is the reported existence of a pirated copy of a police tape that is said to show investigators violated the constitutional rights of some of her co-accused when they were interrogated.

In her affidavit, Petersen said her legal team was given partial access to the police docket last month, after her first bail application was rejected by both the regional and high courts.

“In view of the availability now of a partial police docket, the strength of the state case will be re-addressed,” she said. “I am not guilty in this matter and I am being framed.”

Petersen has been implicated in the killing in statements by two of her co-accused, Jefferson Snyders and Waheed Hassen, who claimed he held a pillow over Taliep’s head while Petersen fired the fatal shot on the night of December 16 last year.

In her affidavit, Petersen asked why, if the people who shot her husband were “so keen to collaborate with the police”, the police had not produced the weapon, and why it was not checked for her fingerprints.

She also said Taliep gave her her medication—she suffers from a range of psychiatric illnesses—on the night of the killing.

There was “no way” she could have got past him where he was watching television to open a security gate for the killers, she said.

“There is no way I would risk it down those steps—in any case as the medication makes me drowsy.”

And later in the affidavit, she said: “I had a good relationship with my husband and we were planning to go overseas together in January 2007 to London, Paris, Italy and Malaysia.”

Petersen’s advocate, Herbert Raubenheimer, told the court that despite correspondence and requests, the defence had been denied access to recordings of police interviews of her co-accused, which it needed to present a full case in the bail application.

He said if the men who implicated Petersen were made promises or threatened, “then surely we must be allowed to listen to that”.

Waleed Ajouhaar, a friend of Petersen’s late father Suleiman Dirk, told the court that in July this year Dirk told him he had received a phone call from a man who said he had information on tape regarding his daughter’s innocence.

He contacted the man, Riaan Radyn, who said he was a former policeman who was now a private investigator.

Radyn told Adjouhaar he had a friend named John McKay who did part-time sound engineering work for the police.

One of the tapes the police had asked to be “fixed up” contained the interrogation of Hassen and Snyders, and McKay had made copies.

“He [Radyn] asked me if I would be interested in buying the tapes,” Ajouhaar said.

Ajouhaar’s testimony was interrupted by a state objection to a transcript of SMS messages to and from Radyn off Ajouhaar’s cellphone.

The defence last week obtained a search-and-seizure order from a Cape High Court judge against Radyn.

The independent attorney appointed to supervise the search, Gideon van Zyl, told the regional court earlier on Thursday that when he accompanied the sheriff to Radyn’s home, Radyn said he knew of the recordings.

Van Zyl said Radyn told him he had sold one cassette to Ajouhaar for R2 000 and had passed the money on to McKay, who he knew as John van der Berg.

Radyn said he was told the tapes contained “incriminating stuff”, which Van Zyl understood to mean the police had used “unconstitutional methods” in interrogations.

However, prosecutor Shireen Riley told the court there were no tapes of interviews, only an audiovisual recording of formal statements Hassen and Snyders made.

The application continues on Monday.—Sapa

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