Toy gun causes stir at trial

2010-03-03 00:00

THE trial of a doctor charged with indecently assaulting a patient in a private hospital ward in February 2006 adjourned early yesterday in the wake of an “altercation” over the alleged brandishing of a toy gun by the father of the complainant.

The woman, who was 17 when the alleged incident occurred, was under cross-examination by defence advocate Yoga Moodley SC yesterday.

When the case resumed after lunch, prosecutor Loretta Knox asked the regional magistrate, S. Mngomezulu, if he could check whether the complainant felt well enough to carry on as she had been upset by an “altercation” between her father and the defence team.

The young woman, who appeared tearful, told Mngomezulu she did not feel she would be able to cope if the cross-examination was “going to be long”. She said she generally felt unwell. The case was adjourned until today.

Moodley said his instructing attorney saw the woman’s father brandishing “what appeared to be a firearm” outside the court.

He told Knox, and it turned out that it was in fact a toy gun.

The complainant’s father, who had been waiting outside the court, told The Witness later that he picked up the toy pistol in a car park yesterday.

It was a very good replica, he said, and he was simply looking at the toy just before court resumed when the lawyers passed and he noticed the attorney becoming agitated.

“I never pointed it at anyone or threatened anyone with it. It’s all nonsense,” he said.

Because the gun was plastic, it was not picked up by security equipment at the entrance.

The man, who is a policeman, said he would in any event be allowed to carry his service pistol into the building.

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