Disgraced Port Elizabeth policeman Walter Francis cut a lonely figure in the dock yesterday as his two co-accused, both suspected gang members, were acquitted of murder, leaving him to stand the duration of the trial alone.
The former constable, 31, must now also decide whether to take the stand and testify in his defence.
It is alleged he supplied his service pistol, as well as 65 rounds of ammunition, for a revenge shooting in the city’s northern areas in October 2014.
Yesterday, Judge Jannie Eksteen dismissed an application by defence Advocate Terry Price SC – in terms of Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act – for Francis’s discharge at the close of the state’s case.
Eksteen said it had already been admitted that victim Denton Rademeyer was shot with Francis’s official SA Police Service firearm, although the details of the murder were in dispute.
Meanwhile, the Port Elizabeth High Court heard that there was not enough evidence linking alleged gangsters Enzorich Kroates, 22, and Clement Kogana, 29, to the actual shooting.
Rademeyer was shot dead in Kakora Street on October 26 2014.
The state alleges that his murder was in retaliation for another gang shooting at the home of Shane Potberg – who died after initially being charged in the matter.
Eksteen said it was Francis’s own admission that he had been present at Potberg’s house on October 25 2014.
On his departure, he received a report of a shooting at Potberg’s residence.
“He fetched his firearm and returned to the home of Potberg and handed it to Potberg, who placed it under the clothing in his wardrobe in his bedroom.
“The wardrobe was thereafter locked and the door to the room similarly locked,” Eksteen said.
He said there was no evidence at this stage of proceedings that Francis ever attempted to regain possession of his firearm prior to the fatal shooting of Rademeyer.
Eksteen said while Price correctly argued that there was nothing to indicate that Francis was on the scene of the shooting, an accused could be convicted of murder where there was a prior agreement in place.
Eksteen said despite a plea explanation, Francis had not offered an explanation as to why such a large quantity of ammunition had accompanied his firearm.
“He admits he handed the firearm to Potberg. It was this conduct which enabled the shooting of the deceased the following evening.
“But for his role, the deceased may not have been killed.”
The trial was postponed to today.