Cape Town gun licence trial might move to Pretoria

2018-05-28 19:50
Ralph Stanfield (File, Netwerk24)

Ralph Stanfield (File, Netwerk24)

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Alleged gang boss Ralph Stanfield appeared to be taking no chances with his appearance in the Khayelitsha Priority Crimes Court on Monday as he sat in the dock wearing what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest underneath his leather jacket.

Stanfield and 22 others, including three police officers, face 109 charges, including fraud, racketeering and the unlawful possession of firearms, in a complex case in which police officers could be found to be complicit in helping oil the illegal gun trade.

READ: 10 Things you should know about the national gun smuggling investigation

The group, which included several women, took up the first row of the dock and the first row of the public gallery in the courtroom on Monday.

One of the accused had a mobile oxygen tank plugged into a wall near him.

The row behind the accused was kept empty for security purposes and the court was only unlocked for the public to enter after it had been checked by at least eight heavily-armed police officers.

Entry into the court building itself was via a thorough body and bag search at the entrance, which included the searching of women's head scarves and the lifting of their skirts in search rooms.

Stanfield survived a drive-by shooting in Johannesburg in July 2017.

On Monday, attorney Martin Hood requested a postponement to allow him to apply for a review of the decision by the National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) to hold the matter in Khayelitsha, a suburb about 25km outside the Cape Town CBD.

"We think it should take place in Pretoria," said Hood.

He believes this would be the appropriate jurisdiction for the matter to be heard, and the case was postponed to July 16 to allow him to lodge the review application.

Many of the accused are from suburbs around Cape Town, such as Mitchells Plain, but suburbs and towns further afield in Gauteng also feature in the wide net cast by investigators, piecing together where firearm licences and competency certificates were obtained.

News24 reported previously that the charge sheet detailed how, between 2013 and 2014, alleged crimes were committed within the police and between the three officers and suspected gangsters, and how some officers at the Central Firearms Registry allegedly helped gangsters arm themselves.

READ: Cops destroyed documents in guns to gangs case

A former police colonel Chris Prinsloo is already serving a jail sentence for selling around 2 000 firearms to Rondebosch businessman Irshaad "Hunter" Laher, who allegedly bought guns meant for destruction by the police.

Laher and Vereeniging arms dealer Alan Raves are currently involved in a case in the Western Cape High Court, linked to the alleged selling of the firearms.

Their case returns to court on June 8. All but two of the accused who appeared on Monday were released on warnings.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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