Student cops taught about guns - witness

2012-08-22 17:13
Sipho Mbatha in the South Gauteng High Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Sipho Mbatha in the South Gauteng High Court. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Students at the police training academy in Pretoria were being taught that guns were not toys, the South Gauteng High Court heard on Wednesday.

"I told them that the finger is only placed on the trigger once one is ready to fire at something," Warrant Officer Lewis Matlala, a trainer at the academy, testified.

Student Constable Sipho Mbatha, on trial for killing Thato Mokoka, 16, was one of Matlala's students at the academy.

Mokoka was shot dead during a police raid at his grandmother's home in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on February 14. The boy was suspected to be part of a gang, as well as of owning a firearm.

In earlier proceedings, a friend of Mokoka's said he was part of a group of friends called the Boys with Advice, but denied that they terrorised local residents. Police officers testified previously that Mokoka was not found in possession of a gun.

Mbatha has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge against him. He claims his R-5 rifle accidentally went off as he bent over to search Mokoka, who was lying on his stomach.

The trial continues.

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