Defence to analyse more than 2 000 dockets in guns-to-gangs case

2018-02-16 15:13
Rondebosch businessman Irshaad Laher hides his face as he leaves the High Court. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Rondebosch businessman Irshaad Laher hides his face as he leaves the High Court. (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The legal representatives of two businessmen accused of playing a role in a massive case, in which firearms meant to be destroyed by police were allegedly smuggled to gangsters, face the mammoth task of having to scrutinise more than 2 000 dockets.

Details about the tasks the defence still had to complete were outlined in the Western Cape High Court on Friday.

It was also heard that the State was ready to proceed with a trial. However, the defence first needed to go through the thousands of dockets.

Rondebosch businessman Irshaad "Hunter" Laher and Vereeniging arms dealer Alan Raves appeared in the dock on Friday for proceedings in preparation of a trial.

They face various charges in the case which focuses on the selling of firearms, meant to have been destroyed by police, which then ended up with gangsters around the Western Cape.

During Friday’s proceedings, State prosecutor Christiaan de Jongh said the defence had previously indicated that it wanted "certain police dockets" disclosed to it.

2 400 dockets

There were about 2 400 dockets and De Jongh said it had been a massive task to scan and photocopy all of them.

The copies had, therefore, only been supplied to the defence on Thursday.

De Jongh said it was clear that the defence would need time to analyse these dockets.

Ross McKernan, Laher’s legal representative, and Charles Coetzee, who represented Raves, confirmed that they would need time to do this.

Minutes of the pretrial preparations, dated Friday, showed that in May 2017 the court had ordered the divisional commissioner of detective services "to ensure that 3 028 dockets that are linked… to the stolen firearms are collated" and handed to the prosecutor by the end of July 2017.

It said the divisional commissioner "partially complied with the court order" by supplying the prosecution with only 2 206 dockets by mid-September 2017.

READ: Thousands of dockets need to be traced in massive guns-to-gangs court case

The matter was postponed to June 8, when further details about the preparation for the trial would be heard.

Ex-police colonel Chris Prinsloo, now serving a jail sentence, previously said he had sold at least 2 000 firearms, meant to be destroyed by police, to Laher, who then allegedly sold them to gangsters.

Prinsloo, Laher and Raves were arrested as part of a previous national gun smuggling investigation, said to have been the biggest in SA, named Project Impi.

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

Project Impi was launched in December 2013 by Western Cape police officers Major General Jeremy Vearey and Major General Peter Jacobs.

But they, via court documents in a labour matter, have said it disintegrated when they were suddenly transferred within the police in June 2016. 

In August 2017, the Cape Town Labour Court ruled their transfers should be set aside. Vearey and Jacobs are still in the positions which they argued against in the court.

Read more on:    cape town  |  corruption  |  courts  |  gang violence  |  crime

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