/ 4 May 2011

Murder-accused cop may be unstable, court hears

A policeman accused of shooting dead a woman at a police station last week may be mentally unstable and pose a threat to society and himself, the Kempton Park Regional Court heard on Thursday.

The state asked for a postponement of the bail hearing of Manape Phineas Kgoale (38) on Wednesday because it needed clarity on his mental and psychological state.

“There are numerous aspects for the investigating officer to clear up,” said prosecutor Lynette Lambert.

She said the sergeant had a history of alcohol abuse and was referred for police counselling as a result of emotional stress.

The stress was apparently caused by his girlfriend not wanting him to see his child.

Kgoale was released from a rehabilitation clinic for alcohol abuse a week before the shooting.

“The state is concerned with the accused’s mental state and well-being, taking into account his trauma,” said Lambert.

“Because of the facts of this case, we must look at public interest … we need a preliminary report on his mental well-being, and decide whether he is a danger to the public and whether he is a danger to himself.”

“We must make sure that if this accused gets bail he doesn’t kill someone and that he doesn’t kill himself.”

Lambert said there were many questions that needed to be answered.

“What he did is indeed unusual and strange.”

Defence attorney Riaan Louw opposed the postponement, saying his client was not mad.

“When my client was released from the rehab clinic they found him to be fit and proper and told him to return to his duties.

“If the state wants to know why the incident took place, we have answers to give during bail,” said Louw. “What they are implying is that my client has a huge psychological problem and that he is mad. Well I can tell you he is not mad.”

‘We are confident we have a valid defence’
Louw accused the state of fishing for problems because of the huge media attention.

He said the state intended opposing bail because of the rehabilitation and a firearm training course that Kgoale underwent this year. “They want to know that if he went for training, how could this happen.

“We are confident we have a valid defence … the state cannot keep the accused in custody because they want to do further investigations.”

He said it did not follow that if a person had an alcohol problem that he was a threat to society.

“Half of our society has a drinking problem. Let us put the facts before court and let the court then decide whether to send him for mental observation. There is no history of any violence or him hurting anyone or having any problems,” said Louw.

The sergeant allegedly shot dead Jeanette Odendaal at the Kempton Park police station last Tuesday after she drove her car into a stationary police vehicle. — Sapa