Johannesburg - A lawyer, charged in connection with a R100 million robbery at OR Tambo International Airport, has been served with an ultimatum to get ready for trial or face the consequences.
Rooshdeen Rudolph, who runs a law firm in Kempton Park, has been charged with his brother and IT boffin Shaheed Rudolph for their role in allegedly masterminding the first successful robbery at the airport, on March 25, 2006.
On Monday, Judge Neels Claassen ordered the two brothers to ensure that they had a legal representative during their next appearance in the Johannesburg High Court on May 6, failing which he would proceed with the trial regardless.
In July last year, the court warned the two brothers to be ready for trial in January, but on Monday, Rooshdeen Rudolph claimed he had no money to pay an advocate.
Rudolph, pleading with the court to postpone the trial, said he had been unable to raise the necessary funds for a legal representative.
His sister Sumaya Rudolph, also an attorney, had initially planned to secure funds for him but had been unable to do so as someone had tried to rape her at the weekend, he told the court.
“My sister has been unable to assist due to an attempt to rape (her). She is still in a very traumatic state,” Rudolph said.
In August 2010, during the trial of the initial nine accused, the court heard that Sumaya and her sister Feroza Rudolph, a Cape Town-based magistrate, had flown to Joburg, allegedly to influence a state witness, self-confessed armed robber Nazir Ishmail, to turn against the state and aid their brothers.
On August 12, 2010, Ishmail testified he had been summoned to a Boksburg law firm on July 3 where he met the Rudolphs’ sisters and their father, Les Rudolph.
He said it was during that meeting that the sisters asked him to withdraw as a state witness.
They allegedly also appealed to him to exonerate Rooshdeen Rudolph.
Ishmail is expected to be the first witness to be called to testify against the two brothers.