'Penis' cop felt life in danger

2010-04-06 20:06

Durban - The policeman accused of shooting dead four men in an argument over the size of penises told the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Tuesday that he fired shots because his life was in danger.

Brian Steven told the court that on the night of the murders the situation was volatile.

“My life was being threatened and I just fired the shots,” said Steven.

Steven and his brother Leon, both former police inspectors, were accused of shooting dead Shawn Strydom, Nick Jansen van Rensburg, Rory Menzies and Bruce Edwards on September 10 2008.

At the time of the shooting, police said the argument began when a man made a comment about another patron's genitals at the pub's urinals.

The shooting took place at the Merseyside pub in Umbilo in Durban.

Steven told the court that on the night of the shooting they went to the pub with Leon Steven, Nithianandan Ganess and Naim Saddick.

Only Indians

“Ganess went to use the toilets while I ordered drinks at the bar… Ganess came to us saying he was uncomfortable,” said Steven.

He said Ganess pointed at a table and said the men at the table called him a "coolie" (a derogatory term for Indians).

"We were the only Indians in the pub. Everybody was against us," he told the court.

“I approached the people at the table and asked him (Ganess) to show me who had called him a coolie. Ganess said no-one and I apologised to the gentlemen at the table,” said Steven.

Steven said about 20 seconds later one of the men from that same table said: “If you want aggression I will give you aggression.”

Steven said they went outside and started shoving and pushing each other.

He said everybody was outside except for his brother.

“I heard a gunshot inside. I wanted to fetch my brother. I took my firearm and forced the door open as there were people holding the door,” said Steven.

Terrible scene

He said he went inside the bar and saw white men surrounding his brother who was lying on the floor facing the ceiling.

“I went to pick him up. I got hit on the back with what I presume was a wooden stool and fell,” Steven said.

He told the court that when he got up he picked up the firearm which he had dropped and fired a couple of shots.

“I did not know how many shots I fired. I stood up and went outside. It was a terrible scene,” said Steven.

Steven, who had been a policeman for 22 years, said it did not occur to him to inform the people at the bar that he was a police inspector.

He also said the people that he shot were coming at him with chairs and bottles.
"My life was being threatened and I just fired the shots," said Steven.

Judge Guido Penzhorn noted that Steven's brother was not involved in the initial assaults as he was singing karaoke.

"Why did the people at the bar want to attack your brother?" Penzhorn asked.

Steven said they were the only Indians in the bar and had all walked in together.

Penzhorn adjourned the matter till June 17 for closing arguments.