/ 4 May 2011

Kempton Park shooting: Cop denied bail

Bail was on Wednesday refused to a Kempton Park policeman accused of shooting dead a woman outside the local police station.

The Kempton Park Regional Court postponed the matter to June 23 for further investigation.

Magistrate Eric Mhlari said Sergeant Manape Phineas Kgoale had shown he could not handle a firearm with care, and this was the second incident in which he was involved relating to a gun. In 2003 he was found guilty of an offence related to firearm negligence.

He allegedly shot dead Jeanette Odendaal (45) last Tuesday outside the Kempton Park police station after she crashed into a stationary police car.

“And he went at it again. The accused cannot handle a firearm with care and the accused is most likely to use the firearm again,” said Mhlari.

The crime was serious and a police officer had to use a firearm in the face of danger and to help others. He said Kgoale was not in danger and Odendaal still in her car when she was shot dead.

According to an affidavit read to the court by Kgoale’s lawyer, Riaan Louw, Kgoale thought a car was being stolen or hijacked outside the police station.

“I was on duty that night … when I was summoned by an almost hysterical car guard that someone was trying to steal a car. I went outside and heard a loud noise and thought it was a gunshot. I saw a car going backward and forward, and bumping into other vehicles.”

‘I thought they were going for a gun’
He could not see the face of the person behind the wheel because of the poor lighting, given that it was 7.50pm.

“I saw the person move their hand to the right shoulder and thought they were going for a gun. They had an object clenched in the hand. I thought my life was in danger. My call for them to stop went unheeded.”

He said there was no time to fire a warning shot.

“I aimed for the shoulder but somehow it changed course and hit her in the chest,” he said. Only later he saw it was a woman driver.

Kgoale denied that the car guard was present, as reported in various newspapers.

Louw questioned why the state was opposing bail and said Kgoale had no motive to kill Odendaal. There were also discrepancies in the car guard’s statement.

“Can’t you see there is something wrong? Where is the motive? My client had no motive to kill her.”

Louw said Kgoale had been suspended, did not own a firearm and was not a flight risk.

“There is no evidence to support any allegation and he is a threat to society.”

The court heard that the results of forensic tests and a post-mortem examination were not yet ready. — Sapa