South Africa 12.7.2018 10:00 am

British farmer accused of attempted murder by alleged trespasser released

Image: Krugersdorp News

Image: Krugersdorp News

The magistrate said the case was a waste of court resources and time, and promptly threw it out.

The British farmer who was charged with attempted murder after he fired shots into the ground with a paintball gun to warn a trespasser to leave his premises has been released from police custody, Krugersdorp News reports.

He appeared in the Krugersdorp Magistrates’ Court yesterday. According to witnesses in court, the magistrate said the case was a waste of court resources and time, and threw it out.

READ MORE: ‘Trespasser’ charges British farmer with attempted murder for firing paintball gun

Both the owner and the man accused of trespassing were released.

The Muldersdrift police were contacted for comment, but had not responded by the time this article was published.

Krugersdorp residents have since also expressed their annoyance with the situation, asking whether or not it is illegal to possess a paintball gun, and if it is considered to be a firearm for which you need a licence.

The South African National Paintball Association (Sanpa) has some answers to the questions commonly asked about the law and the paintball or airsoft guns.

The are various rumours that in the new legislation, “paintball and airsoft guns can be illegal according to law”. In that same context, a butter knife or plastic bag can be as well – according to the Dangerous Weapons Act 15 of 2013.

A common misconception is that this law, when implemented, would mean that en route to or from a paintball game or whenever transporting paintball or airsoft markers (guns), you could be arrested and your marker taken from you. This is untrue, although circumstances do need to be taken into account.

In this act, a dangerous weapon means any object, other than a firearm, capable of causing death or inflicting serious bodily harm, if it were used for an unlawful purpose. This means a fork, a piece of fishing line, even a pair of earphones could be a dangerous weapon if used to inflict harm.

There are other things to consider as well, for example, exceptions for the possession could be made for:

a) possession of dangerous weapons in pursuit of any lawful employment, duty or activity;

b) possession of dangerous weapons during participation in any religious or cultural activities or lawful sport, recreation or entertainment, or;

c) possession as part of a legitimate collection, display or exhibition of weapons.

“But keep in mind that if you are going to stand in your yard in a suburb shooting at tin targets, for example, this would be illegal, as the discharge of any air rifle or paintball marker is prohibited by local statutes and you could face a fine or even confiscation of your marker.

“In fact, if somehow you were to shoot over the target and hit a passing person, you could be charged with a whole bunch of things, ranging from assault with a dangerous weapon, contravening the Dangerous Weapons Act and even a charge as serious as pointing of a fire arm,” reads a statement on Sanpa’s website.

Here are some pointers from Sanpa that will keep you on the right side of the law:

• Never carry an assembled marker in public. Always have it in a concealed bag or marker bag. Do not take it out unless you are in your own house or a friend’s house or at a paintball field.

• Do not fire your marker unless at a paintball field or if working on it in a safe environment.

• Costume parties are fun but leave your marker at home – accidents happen way too fast.

• Use common sense if you are transporting your marker to a shop, event or camping area/lodge/hotel. Try to keep it disassembled and in a bag out of the public view. In the case of mils markers and/or airsoft markers, try to carry a business card from the field or a contact number for event staff in case you get pulled over and questioned about being in possession of such a marker.

For more information about the laws regarding paintball and airsoft markers, visit https://sanpa.co.za/player-information/dangerous-weapons-bill-and-paintball-airsoft/ or send an email to info@sanpa.co.za. You can also contact Sanpa on 083 449 9819.

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