'Gravely ill' Vereeniging arms dealer misses court appearance

2016-11-04 12:25
Businessman Alan Raves sits in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court. (File, Tammy Petersen, News24)

Businessman Alan Raves sits in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court. (File, Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town – A Vereeniging arms dealer who faces gun-related charges ranging from racketeering to theft could not make his court appearance on Friday because he was fighting for his life in ICU, the Western Cape High Court heard.

Alan Raves, 50, who is also a gun collector, was meant to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing alongside Rondebosch businessman Irshaad Laher.

Laher, dressed in a checked shirt, blue tracksuit top and jeans, stood alone in the dock.

It emerged that Raves was apparently admitted to a hospital in Vereeniging, Gauteng, last month. The court heard he suffered multi-organ dysfunction, was on a ventilator and underwent dialysis.

Attempts by his lawyer to have a conversation with him were all but impossible as he apparently struggled to keep his eyes open for more than a few minutes.

Raves was expected to remain in hospital until the end of next month and would only be fit to resume daily activities on January 15.

Warrant of arrest held over

Prosecutor Shireen Riley asked that the case be postponed until next year for another pre-trial hearing.

She said they were waiting for the National Director of Public Prosecutions to authorise a racketeering charge against Laher who is out on R100 000 bail.

They needed a centralisation certificate as Raves was in Gauteng. A transcription of telephone monitoring was also being urgently typed up.

Judge Nape Dolamo granted a postponement until February 10. He held over a warrant of arrest for Raves until that date.

Laher is accused of buying guns from ex-police officer Chris Prinsloo of Vereeniging, who was recently sentenced to 18 years behind bars after entering a plea and sentence agreement with the State.

He pleaded guilty to 11 charges including theft, racketeering and money laundering.

Guns sold to gangs

Prinsloo, a former police colonel, was in charge of the police armoury and stole 2 400 guns over almost a decade.

In his plea agreement Prinsloo said he provided guns to a man in Cape Town.

Prinsloo apparently met Laher in Gauteng when he was a police officer and Laher a reservist.

After his arrest he told police that he sold about 2 000 guns to Laher, the State alleges.

Raves was arrested in August 2015 after several guns ranging from assault rifles to smaller calibre arms were seized.

Prinsloo pleaded guilty to stealing guns and ammunition destined for destruction and reselling them, primarily to gangs on the Cape Flats.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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