PORT ELIZABETH, May 23 – A former police constable charged with a murder in which his official firearm was used took to the stand on Wednesday to testify in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
The State alleges that on October 25, 2014, former Constable Walter Francis, 29, as well as suspected gangsters Enzorich Kroates, 22, and Clement Kogana, 29, were together at the home of Shane Potberg, 34, when a shooting incident occurred.
At the time of the alleged crime, Francis was stationed at Humewood police station. The State alleged that the next day, Potberg, Kroates, Kogana and another person drove to Bethelsdorp to take out Denton Rademeyer.
Francis told the court on Tuesday, that on the night of the first shooting he went home to fetch his gun and 55 rounds of ammunition. After the “scene was secure” and the cops arrived he then handed his gun over to Potberg and it was locked up in a wardrobe on a shelf under clothing.
Francis explained that the reason he decided to put his gun away was that it was heavy and weighed his tracksuit pants down.
“The scene was secured at that stage and I felt it’s not necessary to keep a firearm on my person. It was uncomfortable because the weight of the firearm and the ammunition weighed my pants down,” he said.
He said that he had no intention of leaving his firearm at Potberg’s house but “forgot about the weapon” after he drove with his uncle to take Kroates, who had been injured, to the hospital.
“I was tired, I had alcohol in my system and to be honest I forgot about my firearm,” he said.
When Francis got up the next day Potberg came to his home and dropped off the gun and ammunition.
“[Potberg] took out the firearm from his waist and took out the magazines and handed it to me. I could smell that the firearm had been shot.”
“I immediately asked what did he do with my gun and he said ‘don’t worry we didn’t shoot anyone with your firearm it won’t be traced’. “
Francis told the court that Potberg eventually told him that a group had shot Rademeyer.
In February 2016, Potberg was shot and killed when gunmen fired into his Dolph Place house in Bethelsdorp. The gunman stood at a security gate while Potberg watched TV inside, police said at the time.
A section 204 witness, Alex Ferreira, who apparently drove the vehicle for Rademeyer’s murder, was meant to testify in the case but was subsequently shot and killed last year.
Ferreira’s statement was subsequently ruled inadmissible at the trial.
Francis has also been charged with Ferreira’s murder.
Earlier this week Judge Jannie Eksteen found Francis’s co-accused Kroates and Kogana not guilty on charges which included murder and unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.
The trial continues.
-African News Agency (ANA)