Joking remark started fight

2009-09-16 00:00

“I JUST stared at his arm and watched him fire shots … bang, bang!”

This was the testimony given yesterday in the high court in Durban by Shaun Edwards (31) about a shooting at the Merseyside Pub and Tavern in the Queensmead shopping mall last year. Four people died in the shootout.

On trial are Brian Steven (39) and his brother Leon (33) — both police sergeants.

The court heard in evidence that September 10, 2008, was an ordinary karaoke night at the pub.

“People sat around chatting. No one caused any trouble,” said witness Thomas Vivian.

However, this was before somebody from his table came back from the bathroom with a “little [Indian] guy”, joking back and forth about who had the biggest penis.

The Indian man came to stand next to their table and, according to Vivian, said: “I’ll show you my d*** is bigger”. The man then motioned as if to open the fly of his pants.

Then Rory Menzies (40), who was sitting at the table, according to Vivian, said in a joking manner: “Take your d** and f*** off.”

Minutes later Brian Steven, who had been chatting to the “little guy” in the pub, wanted to know who had called his friend a “coolie”.

Vivian and Brian Steven had an argument, which turned into a physical altercation outside the pub.

Suddenly someone yelled: “He’s got a gun”, upon which Vivian and other patrons ran back into the pub.

According to Vivian, Brian Steven fired several shots, and his brother fired one shot.

The defence said the brothers acted in self-defence. According to Zane Haneef, their lawyer, Leon Steven was assaulted by a group of people, and his brother Brian fired shots to protect him.

Edwards said that during the drama, he saw his friend, Menzies, struggling with an Indian near the door.

“I can remember wanting to run over there to help. The next thing I can remember is a feeling like someone had knocked the wind out of me. When I caught my breath, I saw an Indian crouching two metres away from me. His arm was stretched and he was firing shots,” said Edwards.

He realised he was wounded in the thigh.

Edwards’s father Bruce (57) lay wounded at his feet.

Around them another three people lay with bullet wounds: Menzies, Shawn Strydom (32) and Nico Jansen van Rensburg (57).

Of all the victims, only Shaun Edwards survived.

At the time of the killings the Stevens brothers were on suspension over another matter.

The case will continue on Friday.

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