Suspected Westbury gang leader and right-hand man granted bail

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Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (STRINGER / AFP)
Members of the Westbury community clash with riot police during a protest. (STRINGER / AFP)

Suspected Varados gang leader, Leroy "Finch" Brown, and his alleged right-hand man, Christopher "Pitso" Charles, have been released on R20 000 bail each on strict conditions.

The two appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday with Sophiatown-based police officer, Warrant Officer Wynand Steyn, who is out on R5 000 bail. Magistrate Susan Botha granted Steyn bail in the same court last week.

Steyn is also out on bail in another matter involving his colleague, Sergeant Tom Keet, 42, Fast Guns gang leader Keenan Sheldon Ebrahim and nine others in the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg for the murder of Bradley Sauls on July 24, 2018 in Westbury. The Fast Guns gang is a Varados rival.

READ: Westbury gang case: Arrested cop says he was not on duty on day of shooting

Before granting Brown and Charles bail, Magistrate Basimane Molwana said the two, through their lawyers, proved that exceptional circumstances existed to warrant their release on bail.

Brown, Charles and Steyn are accused of killing Reagan Jacobs at Agatha flats in Newclare on April 21, 2006.

It is alleged that Steyn was driving a marked police vehicle which Brown and Charles jumped out of before they opened fire on Jacobs, killing him and injuring two men who were with him.

The two injured men have turned State witness and are currently in witness protection, the court heard earlier.

"The court is of the view that the accused (Brown and Charles) have met the requirements and have discharged the onus that there are exceptional circumstances that exist that you should be granted bail," said Molwana.

Disappointed by testimony of investigating officer

He said the court was disappointed that investigating officer, Vincent Saunders, had not arrested a police reservist in the matter even though he testified that he would.

"There is no fourth accused before court. The investigating officer has failed to bring Accused Number Four to appear in court. There is no evidence before court that the police vehicle (used by the accused) was cloned. What was submitted in court is that the vehicle was not on the scene and that Steyn was on leave at the time.

"The court is going to ignore that because it was never evidence in court. The State should take this as homework for the purpose of trial. The applicants have proved innocence. However, this is just a bail application. Witnesses are not in Westbury and this has persuaded the court otherwise," he said.

Molwana then warned Brown and Charles against drinking alcohol, using drugs and committing criminal offences during their release on bail.

Brown and Charles have been ordered to regularly report to the Lenasia and Fairlands police stations as part of their bail conditions.

READ MORE: Survivors implicate alleged gang leaders, cop in fatal Westbury shooting

"I am trying to save you from weekends. You are ordered to reside at [the] alternative addresses presented in court," said Molwana.

The two were also ordered to vacate Westbury as soon as possible. They were restrained from visiting Westbury, Coronationville, Newclare and Bosmont, and were ordered to not leave Gauteng without informing Saunders. 

"You are ordered not to directly or indirectly communicate with witnesses. You are restrained from entering witnesses' area of residence even if it becomes known to you. You are restrained from attending meetings of gang activities. Should you violate any of the bail conditions, your bail will be cancelled and you will be kept in custody," Molwana warned.

Brown, Charles and Steyn are expected to return to court on August 27.

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