Cop who gave gun to gang­ster gets six years

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Devon Koen koend@ti­soblack­star.co.za

A dis­graced po­lice con­sta­ble found guilty of cul­pa­ble homi­cide in July was sen­tenced to six years’ di­rect im­pris­on­ment on Fri­day by the Port El­iz­a­beth High Court.

Shak­ing his head, a neatly dressed Wal­ter Francis, 32, sat in the dock chat­ting briefly to his le­gal coun­sel ad­vo­cate, Terry Price SC, and fam­ily mem­bers af­ter judge Jan­nie Ek­steen handed down the sen­tence.

Francis was convicted af­ter Ek­steen found his ac­tions grossly neg­li­gent when he handed his po­lice-is­sue ser­vice pis­tol to gang­ster Shane Pot­berg on Oc­to­ber 25 2014.

Francis was out drink­ing with Pot­berg when the pair were alerted to a shoot­ing at Pot­berg's Dolph Place, Bloe­men­dal, house.

On the way to Pot­berg's house, the pair stopped at Francis's home where he col­lected his firearm and 55 rounds of am­mu­ni­tion.

While at Pot­berg's home, Francis in­ves­ti­gated the scene and called po­lice be­fore he took an in­jured per­son, cited only as Ja­son, to the hos­pi­tal.

It was at that stage that Francis handed over his firearm and am­mu­ni­tion to Pot­berg.

Francis was ini­tially charged with the mur­der of Den­ton Rade­meyer, along with En­zorich Kroates, 22, and Cle­ment Ko­gana, 29, who were ac­quit­ted af­ter the court found that the state did not have enough ev­i­dence to pros­e­cute them.

Hand­ing down sen­tence, Ek­steen said Francis's ac­tions had been grossly ir­re­spon­si­ble and the fact that he had not at­tempted to re­trieve his firearm from Pot­berg the fol­low­ing day was ex­tremely rep­re­hen­si­ble.

Rade­meyer was shot dead the day af­ter the shoot­ing at Pot­berg's home and af­ter Francis had handed over his firearm.

Ek­steen said a sen­tence of cor­rec­tional su­per­vi­sion was not ap­pro­pri­ate, say­ing Francis “was a po­lice of­fi­cial who was trained and em­ployed to pro­tect so­ci­ety”.

Francis’s le­gal coun­sel have ap­plied for leave to ap­peal his con­vic­tion and sen­tence.

This will be heard on Oc­to­ber 24.

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