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20 Mar 2008 12:11
A third state witness, testifying in the Pretoria Regional Court on Thursday, described his former boss, Ekurhuleni metro police chief Robert McBride, as “the mafia” and “a liar”.
Former metro police officer Patrick Johnston also said McBride was someone he was afraid of.
He told the court that on the day of McBride’s December 2006 accident, he had taken down details of the accident scene in a notebook he had in his possession.
He said that he only filled in an accident-report form the following day.
In turn, McBride’s counsel, Guido Penzhoin SC, asked if the South African Police Service did not arrive at the scene of the accident on the R511 near Centurion.
Johnston admitted that a female inspector arrived at the scene, offering to help.
He told her that this was unnecessary and that everything was under control.
The defence said that in her statement, the inspector indicated that Johnston had told her that McBride had been pushed off the road and lost control of the vehicle, hence his accident.
To this, Johnston replied: “I could have [told her that].”
Johnston said that after he made a statement to the police in May 2007, the cover-up continued to bother him to such an extent that he no longer went to church.
This was in response to the defence’s question as to why he did not tell the truth about the incident from the very beginning.
He also said he was scared of his boss and therefore covered up the fact that McBride had been drunk on the night of the accident.
Johnston told the court he had never changed his May 30 statement, although he had been approached by McBride’s friend Danny Kasrils to do so.
According to Johnston, Kasrils told him he would be able to get a job with the African National Congress, provided that he changed his statement to the police about McBride’s sobriety.
He said that he was familiar with Kasrils and that they had met at a bank and then at a News Café restaurant in Johannesburg.
Kasrils also allegedly visited Johnston’s wife to try to get her to change her husband’s mind.
McBride has pleaded not guilty to a charge of defeating the ends of justice, another of fraud and one of driving under the influence of alcohol.—Sapa
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