IPID probing 'accidental' shooting of top NPA advocate Ferreira-Watt 'by police officer'

Advocate Addelaid Ferreira Watt. (Image via LinkedIn)
Advocate Addelaid Ferreira Watt. (Image via LinkedIn)

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating the alleged accidental shooting of senior state advocate Addelaid Ferreira-Watt and the actions of a police officer, after she was shot in the hip in court.

Ferreira-Watt was killed after a shotgun, which was meant to be used as evidence, went off in court in KwaZulu-Natal. She was hit in the hip.

"IPID has been alerted of the unfortunate incident involving the alleged accidental shooting of the state senior public prosecutor in uMzimkhulu [Regional] Court on Monday by a police officer. IPID is investigating the matter and further updates will be provided when available," IPID spokesperson Sontaga Seisa said on Wednesday.

READ | Shattered and heartbroken: Tributes pour in for top state advocate Ferreira-Watt

The Witness reported that the firearm was evidence in the case of five men accused of attacking and robbing a couple on an Ixopo farm in 2014.

The firearm had reportedly been stolen in the robbery and was later recovered and returned to the couple.

The couple, Cheryl Biggs and her husband Dave, confirmed to the newspaper that police had not kept the firearm as an exhibit pending the trial, because they needed it for protection. Instead, police collected the firearm from them on Monday.

Biggs told the paper she had told the police that she did not know if it was loaded or not.

According to a well-placed police source, the police officer who received the firearm should first have made sure it was not loaded, the newspaper reported.

Police have not revealed details of the incident with police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker, saying "investigations are at a sensitive stage".

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Kholiswa Mdhuli said on Tuesday that they would not comment because the matter was still with the police.

*This story has been updated.

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