Charity man’s firearms all found to be legal

2008-03-04 00:00

Police have confirmed that the firearms that were confiscated from the home of Rick Baratta in a swoop by Organised Crime Unit on Tuesday last week appear to be all legal.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram told The Witness that the seven firearms taken were all found to be licensed.

He said all documentation that Baratta was unable to produce when the raid took place has now been verified.

He defended the raid, saying that police received information pertaining to allegations that there were illegal weapons and narcotics at Baratta’s Merrivale home that was given under oath.

“So we were obliged to act and obtained the search warrant,” he said.

Baratta yesterday told The Witness that all his 26 firearms are locked in a safe for safekeeping. No narcotics were found during the raid.

The raid came amid charges of housebreaking and theft laid against Baratta by a woman he believes to be behind the raid.

He appeared in court on Friday in connection with the charges, but the case was adjourned.

Baratta told The Witness last week that he has done extensive work as a firearms trainer in the U.S. and in South Africa, training the SAPS and various other independent entities such as corporate, casino and school security guards.

He is also a fundraiser with Rotary International, and he and his wife Elizabeth are involved with projects, including the Sweetwaters Quilt Guild. The woman who made the allegations against Baratta is a member of the guild.

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