Najwa Petersen ‘not a helpless woman’

Najwa Petersen’s version of events on the night of the murder of her husband, Taliep, was riddled with improbabilities, the Cape High Court heard on Monday.

Lead prosecutor Shireen Riley was presenting closing argument in the trial of Petersen and three men she allegedly hired to kill Taliep on the night of December 16 2006.

Petersen, wearing her customary Muslim scarf, listened attentively as Riley told the court that cellphone records and witnesses — including that of three accomplices — supported the state’s version of events.

Petersen has maintained that she and Taliep were the victims of robbers, and that she was framed.

Riley said it was interesting that Petersen presented herself in court as a ”rather timid, sickly person with a low functionality”.

However, the facts were that she was a woman who had power of attorney over her husband’s financial affairs and managed them for many years, earned about R40 000 a month as a businesswoman, engaged in diamond deals and drove a top-of-the-range Mercedes.

”The state’s submission is this portrayal as a helpless woman is a deliberate attempt on the part of the accused to give the impression to this honourable court of a woman who would not conspire with others to hurt a fly,” Riley said.

”It is clear that the accused has no problem with telling blatant lies to a court and also had no problem trying to mislead the court,” she said.

She said Petersen could not explain why, if she was a victim of a robbery on that night, she had hugged Taliep as he lay bound on the floor.

”Surely that type of behaviour was at odds with a victim who had a firearm pointed at her by unknown assailants,” she said.

Petersen could not explain why she never thought of calling the police or an ambulance in the wake of the incident, nor could she explain why, if the robbers had everything they wanted and Taliep was tied up, it was necessary to shoot him. — Sapa

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