Shop owner fires gun in spat about prices

2012-08-01 10:30

Johannesburg - A 20-year-old spaza shop owner has been arrested for attempted murder following an argument over his prices, Gauteng police said on Wednesday.

"The complainant went there to buy something but they had a quarrel over the pricing of the product. Thereafter the suspect allegedly chased him out," said Sergeant Rufus Tema.

As the complainant was leaving the spaza shop, the owner allegedly fired a shot into the air.

Following the complainant filing charges, police searched the shop and found the firearm and ammunition. The owner did not have a licence for the weapon.

The shop owner was arrested for attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm. He will appear in the Heidelberg Magistrate's Court soon.

  • blignault.michaele - 2012-08-01 10:40

    Back in the "cowboy" days...pathetic...lock him up for a long time

      lulama.nokubeni - 2012-08-01 11:09

      dom kop!!

  • andre.vandeventer.16 - 2012-08-01 10:44

    Some people don't have the mental capacity to foresee the outcome of their actions!

  • marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-08-01 10:45

    "As the complainant was leaving the spaza shop, the owner allegedly fired a shot into the air." - "The shop owner was arrested for attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm." A prime example of either the police not having a clue what they are doing and/or the journalist not having an inkling of criminal law. If indeed the shop owner fired a shot "into the air" he cannot be charged with attempted murder because he clearly did not attempt to murder anyone - at worst he tried to frighten his customer. Yes he can be charged with all manner of offences but if the facts are as represented and he did not fire *at* the man, he cannot be charged with attempted murder.

      Barefoot - 2012-08-01 11:03

      Better a bigger charge so that he can eventually be found guilty of something else- anyway what goes up must come down he is endangering other people's lives

      daniele.zanato - 2012-08-01 11:14

      Marcus, a weapon can only be un-holstered if the intention is to use it. The minute a gun is waved around even if not fired can be seen as attempted murder, and if a shot is fired regardless of the direction it is immediately seen as attempted murder.

      JacquesClaassen - 2012-08-01 11:38

      @ marcus.steenberg.7 When firing a shot with an firearm the charge is always attempted murder, when it is proved (After investigation) that it was a warning shot charges are then dropped (This is the legal process, or how would we ever make sure of the facts, or do we just believe the accused)but with an illegal firearm those charges normally stick, as when driving under the influence or with no licences and involved in an accident.

      JacquesClaassen - 2012-08-01 11:40

      @ marcus.steenberg.7 O' also a warning shot into the air is reckless! Who knows where that bullet is going especially in a populated aria, so this man has some serious trouble.

      Simon - 2012-08-01 11:41

      Furthermore - where did the discharged projectile land? People have been killed in this way!

      marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-08-01 15:04

      Yes, yes, I know firing a bullet in the air is reckless and so on. The person suggesting that merely waving a gun is attempted murder is talking nonsense. I happen to be a lawyer. For a crime to be classed as attempted, the person charged had to have done everything necessary in order to complete the offence but somehow failed to do so. So aiming at someone and then missing, or hitting but not killing them - or recklessly firing into a crowded restaurant but not killing anyone is attempted murder. However, firing a bullet into the air, unless there was a person actually in the air - can never be attempted murder because he did not do everything necessary to attempt to kill the customer but failed. Yes he was naughty, the charges that can be arrayed against him are as said, having an unlicensed firearm but perhaps waiving a fire arm in public, recklessly discharging a firearm etc etc but *not* attempted murder. I'm not defending him, but the law is the law.

      marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-08-01 15:29

      If the bullet did land on and kill someone, the best they could charge him with was culpable homicide which only requires negligence. If the bullet does not in fact kill anyone (which I don't think it did) there is no attempted charge that can brought in relation to killing. There is no "attempted culpable homicide" for example. There are gun laws to deal with what he did and those should be used. To the person suggesting they should whack on a high charge and then he can be convicted of a lesser offence. It doesn't work like that exactly, a lower charge can only be proved when it is related to the higher charge - thus if someone is charged with murder, they can be found guilty instead of culpable homicide without him being charged specifically with that offence, equally someone charged with GBH might be found guilty of common assault etc. However, if he is to be convicted of a specific statutory firearms offence, it cannot flow from an attempted murder charge as there are defences available for that offence not related to or in addition to those for attempted murder. He must be specifically charged with those offences.

  • Tulani - 2012-08-01 10:48

    in the air, according to the law u start by warning shorts in the air ?

      johan.vanheerden.737 - 2012-08-01 11:07

      Tulani - if you cannot safely shoot a warning shot into the ground or something solid you are allowed in very limited circumstances to shoot it in the air

      Bob - 2012-08-01 11:42

      I was nearly charged a few years back for firing a warning shot into the air! You have to shoot it into the ground. What goes up must come down I was told in no uncertain terms by the investigating officer who gave me huge cr@p over the fact!

      thys.reeder - 2012-08-01 11:54

      There is no legal requirement to fire a warning shot. It is a fallacy concocted by people who are unable to resist the urge to invent their own laws. Besides not being required by law, it is a bad idea in most cases.

  • philemon.ndlovu.5 - 2012-08-01 10:51

    Chuck this illegal immigrant out of the country. Bloody nigerians!

      johan.vanheerden.737 - 2012-08-01 11:08

      Philemon- who says he is not from Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, Angola, Botswana?

      ann.murray.9279 - 2012-08-01 11:19

      In fact - where does it say anything about being an illegal immigrant? I happen to have worked for a company that assists South Africans to become owners of spaza shops.

      ianingwe - 2012-08-01 12:49

      Is he Not admitting that only those from the north have the drive, skills and nous to operate a spas shop?

  • Barefoot - 2012-08-01 11:05

    i don't blame the cops for the attempted murder charge- how many people have they actually killed while trying to discharge in the air?

  • julian.booyens - 2012-08-01 11:11

    He gets charged for attempted murder and will get the book thrown at him yet the blue light bullies here in KZN dischargeD their weapons causing a car to drive into on coming traffic and causing a pile up, what happened to them ? just a slap on the wrist!!

  • Msika - 2012-08-01 11:24

    Attempted murder for firing in the air? Really? Who was he attempting to murder?

  • ndou.miranda - 2012-08-01 11:37

    I fully agree with Micheal,why attempted murder vele????? Its kind of strange how our justice system operate.

      philemon.ndlovu.5 - 2012-08-01 12:02

      anybody on the ground. have you heard of gravity? that bullet will not be suspended in the air indefinitely. stupid question!

  • thys.reeder - 2012-08-01 12:00

    Attempted murder could be a successfull charge. Jacob Humphries(taxi overloaded with kids got hit by train at railway crossing in Blackheath) was found guilty of murder although he did not act with directed malice intent.

      marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-08-01 15:20

      I found that charge slightly dubious and I think it must still be on appeal - if it wasn't appealed, it should have been at the very least to test the specific interpretation of the law. It is said that difficult cases make bad law and I am not sure that an extension of death by dangerous driving (as they call it in the UK) should be extended to what used to only ever be culpable homicide in SA. However, he was prosecuted as being guilty of murder by acting in a manner termed in SA law as dolus eventualis - which is defined as “…(indirect intention) exists when the possibility of a particular consequence or circumstance is foreseen, but there is a reckless disregard as to whether it ensues or not.” There is not, or should not be, anyway to convict someone of an offence in SA that requires intention where there was no intention. It is true that a bullet could theoretically come down and land on someone but the occasions of this happening are extremely rare and I have never heard of a case in SA. If it did actually land on and kill someone the best they could charge him with was culpable homicide which only requires negligence. To show he had intent to kill his customer by firing into the air would be very difficult indeed - in fact I would say legally impossible - that's how I would advise him anyway. In any event once a prosecutor looks at the file if the facts are as the article says - the attempted murder charge will be dropped and so it should be.

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