Umhlanga families want answers after cops 'bungle' shooting case

2015-07-24 19:49

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Durban - Two Umhlanga families, whose sons were shot outside a restaurant on Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga Rocks following an alleged violent altercation, say they have been let down by the police and the justice system after the investigation was allegedly bungled.

The KwaZulu-Natal police have refuted their claims.

Brad-Lee Ferriera, 22, and Scott Corlett, 31, were shot in the early hours of Saturday July 18.

Ferriera’s father Tienie, 49, relayed the story to News24 on behalf of his son, Brad-Lee, who is still recovering from his injuries.

“Scott was walking towards his vehicle with two ladies when a group of guys who were patrons of the Flow Lounge behind Ocean Basket drove past and made a derogatory comment to the ladies.

“An argument ensued which elevated into a fist fight, said Ferreira, adding that the group then allegedly attacked him.

Someone then went to call a bouncer from the nearby Diamond Lounge, said Ferreira.

“My son was attending a function at Diamond Lounge and he was standing outside speaking to the owner and one of the bouncers told them that a man was being assaulted by a group of males at the parking lot at the back.”

The pair then went to the parking lot to investigate.

“When they got there, they found Scott standing in front of a Ford Ranger and he was topless because he was covering his head which was bleeding profusely.”

Ferreira said Brad-Lee asked Corlett if he was okay.

“With his back to the vehicle, the driver lunged towards them and when Brad turned around the vehicle was in front of him and he placed his hands on the bonnet.

"Brad opened the driver’s door in an attempt to take the key to prevent the driver from running them over.”

Ferreira said the driver immediately fired shots.

“A bullet hit Brad’s leg and he ran for cover and people scattered. The driver carried on shooting randomly at the parking lot and one of the shots hit Scott on the leg.”

The driver fled the scene, said Ferreira.

“Luckily there was CCTV footage because we did not know who the guy was. The boys were taken to hospital for treatment.”

Ferreira said the suspect fired shots because Corlett was taking pictures of the vehicle's number plate to use as evidence.

“We later found out that the vehicle was registered to a business, and the police went to the business and the driver of the vehicle was positively identified.”

The family opened a case on Saturday July 19, and handed the police all the information.

“The police went to the suspect’s house where they recovered a gun. They spoke to the father [of the suspect] who claimed that he did not know where his son was.”

Ferreira said he was angered by the lack of police effort to locate the suspect.

“Despite finding the gun, no arrest was made and the police just accepted everything that the father said.”

On Monday, the suspect was arrested and taken to the Durban North police station.

“We are told that at 23:00 that evening the prosecutor went to the police station after he had allegedly been contacted by a lawyer and the suspect was released. They told us there was a lack of evidence.”

“We believe that proper processes have not been followed, they released the guy and rushed the entire process.

“The police were not given a chance to properly engage with the prosecutor. There is CCTV footage and there were lots of people who saw what happened.

"The police are within their rights to hold the suspect while they are investigating the matter.”

Ferreira said the family had been left with a lot of questions.

“So a guy shoots two people, is charged with attempted murder and fires random shots in an establishment in Umhlanga frequented by families and he is released.

“His life was not in danger. We feel like this whole thing has got out of hand. The guy should be in jail. A shop lifter in this country is treated harsher than people who shoot other people.

“Basically the police and the National Prosecuting Authority have let us down. They have created a perception that you can get away from serving time if you are rich. As South Africans, we do not have the backing of the justice system.”

Allan Corlett, 63, Scott Corlett’s father, said his son had three broken vertebra, a fractured rib and had to have his injured knee reconstructed.

“I think the police have done all they could, but there is definitely something underhanded that has happened.

“I am disgusted at how the case has been handled. All we are asking for is that justice be done. We believe that the prosecutor has let us down because the police have all the evidence. We are shocked,” said Corlett.

KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the suspect had been arrested.

"A 28-year-old male was charged with two counts of attempted murder. It is alleged that a suspect shot and injured two males at a restaurant in Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga Rocks.

“The motive of the shooting is unknown at this stage. He appeared in the Verulam Magistrate Court on Tuesday July 21 and was released due to insufficient evidence.

“The matter is still under investigation and the detectives are busy obtaining statements from the witnesses who were at the scene. An identity parade will be conducted once the victims are released from the hospital.”

When probed further about the families' version, Naicker said: “An after-hours bail application was done and the prosecutor allowed bail, so he was released. When the accused appeared in court, the case was withdrawn. We will be putting this docket back on the roll after the investigation is finalised."

NPA spokesperson Natasha Ramkisoon-Kara was not immediately available to comment.

Read more on:    police  |  durban  |  crime
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