Survivors implicate alleged gang leaders, cop in fatal Westbury shooting

2019-06-20 20:19
Minister of Police Bheki Cele had previously deployed a special tactical team to help clamp down on gangsterism in Westbury. (Leon Sadiki)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele had previously deployed a special tactical team to help clamp down on gangsterism in Westbury. (Leon Sadiki)

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The survivors of an alleged gang war in Westbury have implicated two suspected gang members and a police officer in a shooting that left them injured and their friend dead.

This emerged during a bail application in the murder trial of Leroy "Finch" Brown and co-accused Christopher "Pitso" Charles in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Brown is alleged to be the leader of the Varados gang, which is apparently at war with the Fast Guns.

Brown and Charles are facing charges of murder, attempted murder, and the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. They were arrested earlier this month.

On Thursday, they were joined by a third co-accused, Warrant Officer Wynand Steyn from Sophiatown police station, who was arrested on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Cop arrested as murder trial of Westbury gang boss takes a twist

Under cross-examination from Brown's lawyer, Jannie Kruger, investigating officer Warrant Officer Vincent Saunders testified that Brown and Charles were implicated by two witnesses as the ones who opened fire on them at Agatha flats in Newclare on April 21, 2016. Their friend, Reagan Jacobs, was shot dead.

It is alleged that Jacobs was a member of the Fast Guns gang.

The two witnesses survived the shooting and were hospitalised for two months.

Saunders, who is a member of the anti-gang unit, said he began investigating the case on May 14.

He added that the two witnesses, whose identities cannot be revealed in court, gave the police statements that on April 21, 2016, they were with Jacobs at Agatha flats when a marked police vehicle with four occupants drove past them and stopped.

Saunders said the witnesses, in their statements, claimed that they saw an armed Brown emerging from the vehicle. He allegedly charged at them, while Charles approached them from behind. The two men then allegedly opened fire on them.

Saunders continued that the witnesses said they saw Brown running away and jumping back into the marked police vehicle. Charles remained on the scene, loaded his firearm and opened fire in the direction of people's homes.

"One of the two witnesses said he saw a policeman called Steyn was one of the occupants in the marked police vehicle. Another witness was at home watching television. Upon hearing the gunshots, the witness peeped through the window and saw Brown at the scene," said Saunders.

WATCH: Chaos as rival Westbury gangs face off in Joburg court

This was Steyn's first appearance since his arrest, and he is expected to appear in a separate court for his own, separate bail application. This was because his two co-accused's bail application was already underway.

All three are expected back in the dock on June 21.

Earlier in the day, Magistrate Basimane Molwana ordered media companies that wanted to film court proceedings to make a substantive application.

Molwana said the court was in possession of an application letter sent via email by the SABC, which wanted to record the bail application.

"The court is aware of the application by the SABC. The applicant must make a detailed application. Whoever wants to be involved must consult their attorney to assist them in making an application. This is a simple email, which the court can't ignore. 

"The media will be not be allowed to film proceedings but can stay and cover the matter. If they [the media] wish to exercise their constitutional right, they must follow the right channel," said Molwana.

It was not immediately clear why Molwana was reluctant to allow cameras into the courtroom, but he told those in court that he was not influenced by the media and was in court to serve the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Steyn was ordered by Molwana to return to the holding cells, where he would be called after the proceedings and told when his formal bail application would be heard.

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Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime  |  courts

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