Police reservist could soon be arrested in Westbury gang murder case, court hears

2019-06-21 18:53
Members of the SAPS Tactical Response Team on patrol in Westbury. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24)

Members of the SAPS Tactical Response Team on patrol in Westbury. (Felix Dlangamandla, Gallo Images, Netwerk24)

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A fourth suspect wanted for his alleged involvement in the Westbury gang war murder trial could be arrested soon, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court has heard.

The court heard on Friday during a bail application brought by murder accused Leroy "Finch" Brown and co-accused Christopher "Pitso" Charles, that a police reservist based at Sophiatown police station was wanted by the police.

Brown and Charles were arrested on May 28. Brown is alleged to be the leader of the Varados gang, which is apparently at war with the Fast Guns.

On Thursday, they were joined by a third co-accused, Warrant Officer Wynand Steyn, who is also from Sophiatown police station. Steyn was arrested earlier this week.

The three men are facing charges of murder, attempted murder as well as the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

It is alleged that on April 21, Steyn, Brown, Charles and the police reservist were travelling in a marked police vehicle when Brown and Charles jumped out of the vehicle and opened fire on Reagan Jacobs killing him at Agatha flats in Newclare.

Two other men, who were with Jacobs, were injured during the shooting. The two survivors, who cannot be named for security reasons, are expected to testify in court against the accused.

Jacobs was allegedly a member of the rival Fast Guns, which is at war with the Varados gang.

Investigating officer Warrant Officer Vincent Saunders testified that he was awaiting a warrant of arrest document to be signed by the court in order to arrest the police reservist.

"I have received the full particulars of the reservist. I had earlier requested the Sophiatown station commander to provide me with them and I will obtain them on Monday," said Saunders.

He testified that the only thing outstanding before initiating the arrest was the approval of the warrant of arrest by the court. 

Earlier during the hearing, Brown's lawyer, Jannie Kruger, made an application to have the copies of witness statements disclosed to him and his client. The application was dismissed by magistrate Basimane Molwana.

Kruger said it was common cause that the State should supply the defence with those statements.

Jeopardise the State's case

Prosecutor Tshepo Mhange ka Mzizi argued that the disclosure of those statements during a bail application could jeopardise the State's case and put witnesses, who are under police protection, at risk.

"We are dealing with a matter of gangsters. Limitations here, are to protect our witnesses. It took the Minister of Police [Bheki Cele] to bring people from outside the province to come and assist. Our witnesses will at all stages want to be protected. We are saying their lives could be at risk.

"Can Brown bare with us? We will disclose that [witness statements] at a certain stage; not at this stage," he said.

Molwana said the court was dealing with a bail application not a trial.

"We are not at trial yet. The defence is entitled to have access to the docket for the purpose of trial. Therefore, the application is dismissed," said Molwana.

Kruger later pleaded that Brown was not a flight risk and does not possess a passport. He said his client owns taxis and properties in Northcliff and Newlands.

He said Brown was a bail candidate and would abide by the bail conditions, attend trial and not intimidate witnesses.

The hearing continues on Monday.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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