‘Najwa should suffer same fate’


Reporter: Karen Breytenbach

While some close relatives of slain music icon Taliep Petersen were satisfied with the 28-year jail term meted out to his widow Najwa for his contract killing, Petersen’s daughter, Jawaahier, said his children would only be satisfied if their stepmother was made to suffer the same cruel fate as their father. “The Qur’an says an eye for an eye, so unless she was tied down, made to beg for her life and still shot like an animal, I’d never be satisfied,” she said. The young television presenter said no amount of jail time would bring her father back, so her stemmother “could’ve been given a holiday in Jamaica for all I’m concerned”. Petersen’s sister, Maatoema Groenmeyer, said she felt the sentencing was failr. “We are thankful to God that He has spared our father (Mogamat Ladien petersen) long enough to see that justice was done,” Groenmeyer said. “We went through two years of searing pain. It was an emotional rollercoaster. We’re relieved it’s over.” Groenmeyer said the court still needed to decide in whose care to lace her niece, the Petersens’ nine-year-old daughter Zainub, but if the child was to stay with her, she would give her a stable and loving home. Mogamat Ladien petersen, who was swamped by well-wishers, said he was glad the case was over and was “quite satisfied” with the outcome. The Petersen family reacted to Judge Siraj Desai’s sentencing as hundreds of supporters and dozens of photographers and journalists descended on them outside the Cape High Court yesterday. Najwa Petersen’s children did not wish to make any public statements. A large crowd remained standing in the street for another two hours, waiting for the vans in which Petersen and her three co-accused were being transported to leave the police compound at the court. As the large wooden gates opened and two vans with sirens blaring sped out, the crowd screamed wildly and hammered on the windows with their fists. Addressing the packed and restless public gallery, Desai sentenced Najwa Petersen to concurrent sentences of 28 years for murder and 10 for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and co-accused Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi to concurrent sentences of 24 years for murder and 10 for robbery. Waheed Hassen was handed 24 years for murder, 10 for robbery and three for the illegal possession of a firearm and ammunition. Two of the three years are to run concurrently with the 24 and 10 years, bring his term to 25 years.  Jefferson Snyders, who was convicted only of robbery, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, three of them suspended for five years. Although Petersen’s status was not held as an aggravating factor in sentencing, Desai noted that his murder was the abrupt end of the life of “one of Cape Town and the music world’s favourite sons”. Petersen was “at the height of his career” and “a devoted son and a much-loved father”. It was shocking that Petersen had been killed in such a “callous” manner, tied up and humiliated, by a wife he prayed for each night, Desai said. He took into account that Najwa Petersen was 46, a first offender and the mother of a minor child. He also considered the submission by forensic criminologist Irma Labuschagne that Petersen may have become emotionally blunted from years on prescription psychiatric medication. Desai, however, pointed out that there was no clear evidence about Petersen’s mental health and that information on this question presented at Petersen’s bail hearings was “contradictory”. He agreed with the prosecution that she had flasely painted herself as emotionally unstable and vulnerable. She had “pestered” Fahiem Hendricks, the organiser of the hit who turned state witness and “played an active role on the scene”. Emjedi, 42, was a first offender, and had been in custody for 20 months. Although he was not at the crime scene, he had “played a vital role” in the planning. Not showing remorse counted against him, said Desai. Hassen, 36, was also in custody for 20 months and had been convicted before, more than 10 years ago. Desai said Hassen had “displayed some moral integrity” by “readily conceding” his guilt and “profusely apologising” to his victim’s family. This would not allow him to escape a harsh sentence, however. Snyders, 33, had only a previous conviction of drunk driving, and was a family man who came from a good family. But, Desai said, Hassen and Snyders could have avoided becoming involved. Each of the four is to be eligible for parole after serving two thirds of their sentence. In a statement, the Director of Public Prosecutions congratulated Captains Joe Dryden and Jonathan Morris and Superintendent Godfrey Wagter of the Police’s Organised Crime Unit and prosecutors Shireen Riley and Susan Galloway for their “excellent work” and “dedication”.

Taliep shot at point blank range


Cape Town – Forensic and ballistic analysis indicated that the shot fired at entertainer Taliep Petersen was from point blank range, the Cape High Court heard on Tuesday. Free State private forensic pathologist Leon Wagner testified for the defence at the trial of Petersen’s widow Najwa, and the three co-accused charged with Taliep’s murder. Wagner testified on Petersen’s behalf. After Wagner had completed his testimony presiding Judge Siraj Desai said it was unfair for Petersen’s co-accused not to also have the benefit of a privately appointed forensic pathologist, simply because they did not have the financial resources available to Petersen. For this reason, the Judge ordered the legal aid authorities to appoint a private forensic pathologist to represent the three co-accused – at Legal Aid Board expense. Petersen’s one co-accused, Waheed Hassan told the court earlier that he was to have fired the fatal shot at Taliep but that he had at the last minute changed his mind and instead gave the firearm to Petersen herself. Hassan said the gun was wrapped in a cushion to muffle the sounds when Petersen fired the shot at her husband. Wagner told the court that both the ballistic and forensic analysis confirmed that no cushion was used in the shooting at all. He said soot marks were found on the neck wound, which would not have been there had the firearm been muffled by a cushion. He added: “It is my expert opinion that no cushion was used in the shooting.” He used a large magnifying glass to examine forensic photographs of the murder scene as well as photographs of the gunshot wound in the deceased’s neck. At one stage of the hearing, when the Judge borrowed Wagners magnifying glass, Wagner said: “It’s an old Sherlock Holmes method – it worked then and it works just as well today.” The case continues.

Najwa: Diamond story not a lie


Cape Town – Najwa Petersen on trial in the Cape High Court for the murder of her show business husband, Taliep on Monday denied that her story about giving a close friend polished diamonds to sell for her on the black market was a fabrication. Petersen has told the court how she assisted her friend Fahiem Hendriks with loans for as much as R10 000 or more and once by giving him valuable polished diamonds to sell for her on the black market. Prosecutor Shareen Riley reminded her of Hendriks’ evidence earlier that the diamond story was a fabrication. Attorney fee She replied: “That’s what he says.” Riley questioned her about R20 000 she had given to Hendriks (not a loan). Petersen said Hendriks had wanted to consult an attorney and wanted the attorney to accompany him during police questioning concerning the murder. She told the court: “The lawyer wanted R20 000 for him to be present during questioning.” She said it was because of her he was being questioned. She said the money was given by her father. Asked by presiding Judge Siraj Desai why she (or her father) had paid for Hendriks to consult a lawyer, she said it was because Hendriks did not have any money himself. The Judge persisted: “But why did you pay the money?” Locked in room with phone She said she thought R20 000 was a fair sum for what the lawyer was expected to do. Petersen said Hendriks had covered for her about the diamond story, because both he and she were under the mistaken impression that the diamond transaction had been illegal. Petersen said she “did not think of it that way” when asked if she had not considered it strange for the two intruders in her home to lock her into a bedroom that had a landline telephone. Petersen said she had received R30 000 insurance money for her husband’s wrist watch and ring that were stolen during the robbery on the night he was shot dead. She said the watch and ring had not been covered by insurance, but she had nevertheless included them on the insurance list of items stolen from the house. The case continues on Tuesday.

Najwa still under cross-examination


Reporter: SAPA

Najwa Petersen told the Cape High Court on Thursday of her shock when police came to her home to question her the day after she allegedly shot dead her famous husband, musician Taliep Petersen. Petersen claims that she was asleep in her bed when two intruders entered into her home, one of whom stormed into her bedroom and pressing a gun against her head demanded money. She said she was later locked in her bedroom, when she heard a shot being fired. Najwa and three co-accused are on trial for the murder before Judge Siraj Desai. She denied she had any part in the murder at all. On cross examination by prosecutor Shereen Riley, she described the police’s questioning to the court. She said the questioning took about an hour and that the investigating officer who handled the questioning wrote down everything she said. She said it was not explained to her why she was being questioned, but she was asked during the questioning about the happening the night before, when her husband was shot dead. Asked if she felt like a suspect or a witness during the questioning, she replied: “I don’t know how I felt, I was shocked and traumatised.” Riley asked why during the questioning she had informed the investigating officer about her medical history. Riley wanted to know what relevance her medical history had. She said she could not remember. Riley asked her why she told the police about her suicide attempt. She replied: “I don’t know if i spoke about my attempted suicide in conversations, or whether I was questioned about it. I can’t remember, I don’t know.” The hearing continues.

Najwa gets a grilling

Reporter: Fatima Schroeder



Najwa Petersen denied in the Cape High Court today that her husband Taliep had hed-butted her away when she tried to embrace him on the night of his murder. She also denied taht she had watched as an attacker kicked him to the floor and assaulted him before he was shot dead. In another eventful morning, it was put to Petersen that moments before her husband was killed, she had said to the hitmen: “Don’t do it (the murder) upstairs. Do it downstairs.” She was being cross-examined by defence counsel Patrick Scott, who represents one of the self-confessed intruders, Waheed Hassan. Scott put Hassan’s version of events on the night of the killing to Petersen and asked her to comment. But she rejected the allegations. She said she had hugged her husband at one stage but denied that he had head-butted her. She also denied that she had seen him being assaulted. She said that she had seen blood on his face but didn’t know what caused him to start bleeding. The details of the murder just seemed too much for Taliep’s sister, Taghmeeda Johnson, who collapsed in the public gallery as she tried to leave the courtroom. Some of her relatives left to check on her and then took her home. The court heard that Najwa had spoken to the hitmen in Afrikaans. Hassan said he had peered into the bag of money Najwa had given him and commented: “This is not what Fahiem and I discussed.” Petersen allegedly responded: “Don’t worry, we will sort it out tomorrow.” Earlier in the trial, Hassan testified that Hendricks had asked him to carry out the attack according to Petersen’s instructions and that she would pay R100000 for it. He said he was in regular telephonic contact with Hendricks and he had been told that the front door would be left unlocked so that he could enter the premises. He was told to look for Taliep in the studio. Scott put in to Petersen that Taliep was in the TV room and that he started to invoke Allah’s name when he saw his attackers. Petersen said she did not hear any of this and that she was asleep in her bedroom. She woke up when one of the intruders pressed a gun to her head and demanded money. Petersen told the court yesterday that she had no part in the attack and that she begged the men not to hurt her husband. But Hassan testified earlier that Petersen had helped the attackers to tie up her husband. He said she had “nagged” and persisted that her husband should be killed that night. Petersen, Hassan and the other co-accused, Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi and Jefferson Snyders, have pleaded not guilty to murder and to robbery with aggravating circumstances, as well as to the unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The State alleges Petersen asked Hendricks to recruit hitmen to kill her husband, offering to pay them R100000. Hendricks, who has turned State witness, says he approached Emjedi, who allegedly recommended Hassan and Snyders to carry out the killing. Yesterday Najwa denied having written a cash cheque for R100000 three days after the murder to pay Fahiem Hendricks for the hit. The cheque, Petersen said before Justice Siraj Desai yesterday, was for her late father, Sulaiman Dirk, who had bought and sold cars. She also said her numerous cellphone calls to Hendricks were about a R240000 payment for polished diamonds she had given him to sell on her behalf. Her testimony continues.

Najwa’s new star lawyer ‘double-booked’ for trial dramas

The Argus

Reporter: Ella Smook

Najwa Petersen’s latest heavy-weight lawyer appears to have made a high-profile double-booking in taking on the case. Senior advocate Johann Engelbrecht assured the Cape High Court yesterday that he would be ready to proceed when the Taliep Petersen murder trial resumes on July 28. But on the same day he is also due in the Pretoria High Court, where he is defending Cezanne Visser, aka “Advocate Barbie”, in her sensational trial on sex charges. Visser has pleaded not guilty to 15 child-sex charges, including rape, indecent assault and the manufacture of child pornography. Engelbrecht’s instructing attorney in the Petersen trial, Reaz Khan, could not be reached for comment on the apparent clash. In the Cape High Court yesterday, Judge Siraj Desai reluctantly allowed the postponedment after Petersen, accused of masterminding the murder of her husband, lost the services of a third advocate because of a “lack of funds”. Judge Desai placed it on record that any further change in legal representation by Petersen, or “other conduct which may undermine the smooth functioning” of the trial court, would leave Petersen having to conduct her own defence and “face the consequences”. The State opposed the lengthy postponement, saying that the court could not continue indulging “the whims of one accused” whose hiring and firing of senior counsel seemed to have become “a pattern”. Counsel for Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi, Waheed Hassen and Jefferson Snyders also indicated that they were unhappy with the postponement. Hassen and Snyders said they would object if Petersen changed counsel for a firth time. Judge Desai questioned how, if Petersen’s previous advocate, Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau, had withdrawn because of a “lack of funds”, she could afford to appoint new senior counsel. Engelbrecht replied that the withdrawal of Von Lieres was not simply a financial matter, but would not give further details about an implied breakdown in the relationship between Petersen and her former advocate. Engelrecht has starred in a number of high-profile cases in recent years. He represented Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre’blanche. He appeared for the State against Scorpions prosecutor Gerrie Nel; for Pieter Viljoen, who was charged with the murder of his pregnant wife; and for Mark Scott-Crossley, who was convicted in the case of a labourer “thrown to the lions”. Engelbrecht said that with his appointment, Petersen had finally “succeeded in obtaining senior counsel of her choice”. Judge Desai slammed the actions of Petersen, saying they had caused the disruption of court rolls and were a grave prejudice to her co-accused, the family of the victim and the criminal justice system as a whole. He said he was getting the impression that Petersen was employing a “stratagem to gain a tactical advantage” and that such actions warranted the attention of roleplayers in the legal system. Petersen, Emjedi, Hassen and Snyders have been in custody since last June and have pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy to murder and other charges related to the slaying of Taliep Petersen.

Najwa se top-advokaat bedank glo oor geld

Die Burger

Verslaggewer: Carryn-Ann Nel

KAAPSTAD – Een van die land se voorste senior advokate, wat mev. Najwa Petersen verteenwoordig, het kort voordat die verdediging gister sy saak moes begin, sy dienste beëindig. Adv. Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau SC het gister in ‘n verrassende wending in die hoggeregshof hier gesê hy onttrek hom weens “‘n tekort aan instruksies” aan die saak. Mev. Petersen word aangekla van die moord op haar man, Taliep Petersen. Mnr. Reaz Khan, die opdraggewende prokureur, het later aan die media gesê dit is weens ‘n tekort aan geld. Khan verteenwoordig steeds vir mev. Petersen as opdraggewende prokureur. Von Lieres und Wilkau is die derde advokaat wat mev. petersen se verdediging behartig het. Adv. Craig Webster en mnr. Norman Snitcher het haar eerste borgtogaansoek behartig. Adv. herbert Raubenheimer SC en mnr. John Riley het daarna probeer om haar op borgtog vrygelaat te kry. Al die pogings het voor streeklanddros Robert Henney misluk. Familielede van Taliep, sowel as die families van die ander beskuldigdes in die saak (mnre. Abdoer Emjedi, Waheed Hassen en Jefferson Snyders), het na die hofverrigtinge gesê hulle is teleurgesteld met die nuwe verwikkeling. “Ons soek antwoorde. Ons a familie wil hê die saak moet klaarmaak,” het mnr. Igsaan Petersen, Taliep se broer, gesê. Mev. Petersen, geklee in ‘n wit-en-swart kolletjiesrok en swart kopdoek, het gisteroggend bekommerd gelyk toe sy in die beskuldigdebank ingeskuif het. Von Lieres und Wilkau het onmiddellik nadat die verrigtinge begin het aan regter Siraj Desai gesê sy mandaat is Vrydag beëindig. Hy het kort daarna die hof verlaat. Khan, wat ‘n toga by ‘n staatsaanklaer geleen het, het die regter toegespreek en gevra dat die saak tot Vrydag uitgestel word. Hy is ook bevoeg om namens mev. Petersen in die hof te verskyn, al is hy nie ‘n advokaat nie. Die regter het daarop gewys dat mev. Petersen reeds drie keer van regverteenwoordigers verander het. Volgens hom sal die uitstel baie partye benadeel, waaronder die hof, die staat en belangstellendes in die saak. Khan het aan Desai gesê sy opdrag van mev. Petersen is dat sy ‘n advokaat versoek. Desai het Khan gvra om weer instruksies van mev. Petersen te aanvaar “omdat ek (Desai) gaan beveel dat u aangaan met die saak”. Die stelling is met luide applous uit die openbare galery begroet. By Khan se terugkeer het hy gesê: “Mev. Petersen dring aan op ‘n advokaat.” Khan het bygevoeg dat hy nie self voorbereid was vir gister nie en nog ‘n verweer moet voorberei. Volgens Desai kan die afleiding gemaak word dat dit ‘n taktiese onttrekking is. Khan het gesê daar is geen kwade trou van sy kant af nie. Indien die hof die uitstel toestaan, sal hy teen Vrydag gereed wees. Desai het hierop gesê die hof kan nie as gyselaar gehou word weens die “grille” van een beskuldigde nie en het die saak tot vandag uitgestel. Hy het Khan daarna gemaan om ‘n besluit te neem oor wat die volgende stap sal wees. Teen druktyd gisteraand het Khan aan Die Burger gesê: “Ons het nog nie besluit wat ons gaan doen nie, en ek is besig om dit met my kollegas te bespreek. Ons sal wel môre (vanoggend) weet en dinge dan verder vat.”

Najwa’s legal team mum on defence case


Reporter: Ella Smook


Najwa Petersen’s legal team kept their cards close to their chest yesterday after she instructed them not to give out any information ahead of this morning’s resumption of the Taliep Petersen murder trial. While it was a strong possibility that the musician’s widow, who is on trial for his murder, could take the stand this morning, her lawyer Reaz Khan said he was instructed not to speak to the media ahead of the defence case, which was to be launched today. Najwa Petersen has, by way of her counsel during cross-examination of State witnesses, made several statements to counter-balance testimony, but unless the statemetns are repeated under oath, they will not carry much weight. The State closed its case last week, after tightening the screws with cellphone evidence which ostensibly supported the testimony of State witness Fahiem Hendricks. His statements gave police the link they needed to arrest the four people now standing trial for the murder of the musician. Petersen has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy to murder and other related charges, along with her co-accused Abdoer Raasiet Emjedi and Jefferson Snyders. Waheed Hassen has admitted complicity. In her first formal statement to police, two days after the murder of her husband, Petrsen declared that she had “nothing to hide”. During the trial, however, it has become aparent that her defence will have to explain certain evidence and testimony led by the State – particularly the testimony of Hendricks, and cellphone records which show an unprecedented volume of calls between Petersen and Hendricks in the days leading up to Taliep Petersen’s murder. Petersen’s advocate, Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau, has already given some indication of what Petersen’s version of events could be, and what she could say if she took the stand. Addressing Hendricks, and hinting at Najwa Petersen’s possible testimony, Von Lieres und Wilkau said: “Najwa agrees that she has known you for 30 years, but she will testify you borrowed R20000 from her twice, before you borrowed the final R10000. “She agrees that she is ‘serious about money’, and if you did not stick to your part of an agreement, then she would call you. That is her habit. She agrees that you asked her for money at the school (which both Hendricks’s and Petersen’s children attended), and that she agreed (to the loan) and told you to come get it at (her) home. After the first payment early in December, she gave you diamonds and told you if you sold them for R250000, you could get R10000. On the same occasion, she told you there were American dollars in the home, and if you were successful with the diamond transaction, she would leave them in your care to sell on the black market. The money would then help you get out of your financail predicament. On December 13, you called her to say that you had given the diamonds to a prospective buyer. More or less that time, she was calling you all the time, because you no longer had the diamonds in your possession, and she stood to lose R250000. She was stressed and anxious after you told her that you no longer had the diamonds, that is why she made so many calls.” Najwa Petersen will “categorically deny” taht she “invited” Hendricks to murder her husband, Von Lieres said. Meanwhile, Petersen’s previous lawyer has declined comment about whether his legal fees have been paid. Petersen’s first legal team, Norman Snitcher and advocate Craig Webster, SC, last week won a court order to compel Petersen to pay R125000 in legal fees. Her lawyer during her final bail applicaiton, John Riley, said yesterday that it would not be appropriate for him to discuss whether his own fees had been paid, but he was able to confirm that the fees of advocate Herbert Raubenheimer, SC, instructed by him, had been paid.

Taliep kept stabbing secret, court told


Reporter: Ella Smook


Slain music icon Taliep Petersen covered up for his wife – now standing trial for his murder – after Najwa stabbed him in the neck while he was sleeping, eight months before a successful attempt on his life, his daughter Jawaahier has told the Cape High Court. She said Petersen, bleeding profusely from the wound after the april 13, 2006 incident, had given the knife to a domestic worker to wash and had put on a dark sweater to hide his blood-soaked white shirt, before he was rushed to hospital. Once at the hospital, Petersen would not hear of informing the police, and his family obeyed his wishes. This was Jawaahier’s testimony in the Cape High court yesterday, while the public gallery hissed as Najwa petersen’s advocate, Klaus von Lieres und Wilkau, said there was a witness who had made a statement to police, saying the stabbing had been an accident. According to his unidentified witness, Taliep’s birthday was coming up and Najwa had been cutting a cake, when “she got a fit. He tried to restrain her and then she stabbed him in the neck”. This version of the incedent, that Taliep had made clear he wanted to “keep hush-hush”, differed dramatically from the version presented by Jawaahier. Dispassionately referring to Najwa as “his wife”, Jawaahier said her stepmother was “as right as rain” when se went to the couple’s bedroom to say good night at about 11pm on the night of the stabbing. About 30 minutes later, her younger sister banged on her bedroom door, saying: “Tietie, Tietie, Daddy’s calling you but he doesn’t sound right!” Jawaahier rushed to the Petersen couple’s bedroom, put her ear to the door, and heard: “Najwa, no! Najwa, no!” After some hesitation, she entered the room, illuminated only by faint blue light from a small television. “Daddy, where are you?” she called, to which Taliep replied: “Put on the light, but don’t freak out.” Blood everywhere – on the blankets, the sheets, the blinds, the phone,” said Jawaaihier. “I stepped around the bed, and there she was, kneeling down in a prayer posture, her pink pajamas soaked in blood.” Taliep was behind Najwa, who looked like she was trying to stab Taliep again over her shoulder. He was holding her arm, with the knife pointed towards him. Jawaahier did not yet know where the blood was coming from, as “they were both covered in blood”. But she noticed that Najwa’s “eyes were demonic” and she was “making a sound like someone possessed”. “She looked like a zombie,” Jawaahier said under cross-examination. However, she refused to pin Najwa’s appearance to “anything specific”, such as medication. “I can pull my face like that as well if I want to,” she said. Jawaahier said she had witnessed Najwa having a seizure, about four days before the stabbing, when her sister Fatima was fetched from the hospital after a tonsil operation. On returning from the hospital, she had seen Najwa having a seizure that lasted from the car in the driveway all the way up into the bedroom. “I wasn’t clear about her exact illness. I am not sure he (Taliep) was either,” Jawaahier said. Earlier yesterday, Taliep’s sister, Taghmeeda Johnson, testified that an encounter at the hospital between the Petersen couple and Taliep’s first wife, Madeegha Anders, had set in motion a chain of events that caused the situation in the Petersen house to go from bad to “unbearable”. Jawaahier and Fatima are children born from Taliep’s marraige to Anders, but had been living with the Petersens. Johnson said Taliep had been lamenting the fate of his children, who were faced with the same broken-home circumstances in which he and Johnson had grown up. “It is the same scenario, just the characters have changed,” Taliep reportedly told his sister. The last four years of his marriage had been “horrible”, she said, but in April 2006, just before his birthday, he had told her that his marriage was not working out, his children were not happy and he was thinking of buying a house for himself and his children. A day after encountering Taliep’s first wife at the hospital, “Najwa freaked out”, because the recovering Fatima went to stay with Anders. The next day Najwa was hospitalised for depression, to return home on April 13. That night, Taliep dozed off after asking Najwa if she had taken her tablets, and she said yes. Moments later, his wife would stab him in the neck. “If I can’t have you, then nobody else will,” Najwa allegedly said, according to Johnson. But Petersen’s defence pointed out while Taliep allegedly repeatedly professed to wanting out of his marriage, he had never taken any steps to get a divorce, and had in fact married Najwa twice – once in a civil ceremony and once in a Muslim ceremony. Najwa Petersen, through her advocate, admitted yesterday to the stabbing, but said that she did not know how it happened. The trial continues.