Cop who gave gun to gangster gets six years
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.