/ 18 April 2008

Accused: I was at Taliep’s murder

Though one of Taliep Petersen’s alleged killers has now formally admitted being at the scene of the murder, another is still fighting hard to keep his confessions out of court.

It has emerged that not only did the second man, Waheed Hassen, make a formal statement to police, but he also gave them 15 pages of handwritten notes on the December 2006 killing.

The trial of Taliep’s wife, Najwa, and three men she allegedly hired to carry out the execution-style shooting went into a trial within a trial on Friday — to deal with admissibility of statements Hassen and Jefferson Snyders made shortly after their arrest.

Earlier this week the two men indicated through their lawyers that they would oppose the state’s bid to hand the potentially damning documents in as evidence.

However, in a surprise move on Friday morning, Snyder’s advocate, Roelf Konstabel, told Cape High Court Judge Siraj Desai that his client would no long oppose admission of his statement.

In the two-page document, Snyders said he went with Hassen to the Petersens’ Cape Town home on the night of December 16 2006 to do what Hassen described to him only as ”a job”.

They went in through an open gate and front door, and found Taliep upstairs watching television.

Snyders said he told Taliep they were ”only coming to do a robbery” and that nothing would happen to him.

”But [with] the seriousness I saw in his face and [the fact that] he began to pray — his words were ‘Allah al Akbar‘ — I realised that he knows he … is going to die tonight, this is why he is making peace with his God,” Snyders said.

Najwa, who was at one stage ”half hanging on to him [Taliep]”, allegedly told him and Hassen that her husband had to be shot that night.

”She said repeatedly: ‘He must be shot’,” Snyders said.

”I went down the stairs and out of the door to the bakkie and ‘bam, boom’ I heard a shot.”

He did not know who actually fired the shot.

Since the killing, he and Hassen had never talked to each other about what happened, but the murder was constantly on his mind.

”I am today glad that I could clear my thoughts with the law, and I know that the prayers of many people who prayed to God [for] justice have been answered.”

A member of the police’s organised crime unit, Captain Jonathan Morris, told the court that two days after Hassen’s arrest in June last year, he encountered him in the office of investigating officer Captain Joe Dryden.

”When I opened the door the accused smiled at me and said: ‘Sir, I am cooperating’,” Morris said.

”While you were in the office, were there any threats or assault on the accused?” asked prosecutor Susan Galloway.

”No, Your Honour,” replied Morris.

He said that in addition to a formal confession made before a police officer after his arrest, Hassen wrote 15 pages of ”letters” on the killing.

Hassen had told him on the way back from a court appearance one day that he felt he had not been able to tell the full truth in his formal statement, and asked for paper and pen.

”He insisted he wanted to write the letter because he felt he was misused,” Morris said.

Dryden, in the stand, denied a suggestion from Hassen’s advocate, Jonathan Scott, that he had been under pressure for results in the Petersen case.

”I had many other cases as well,” he said.

Scott, taking repeated breaks to get instructions from his client, told Dryden that Hassen said he was assaulted by detectives when he was arrested.

”I would not know,” said Dryden, who said he was not a member of the team that took Hassen into custody.

He said, however, that when he supervised Hassen having a shower soon afterwards, he did not notice any bruises on his body. — Sapa