2 minute read
18 Aug 2014
7:01 pm

Westbury shooting accused denied bail

A petition was one reason one of the men accused of involvement the shooting that led to the death of three-year-old Luke Tibbetts was denied bail, the Newlands Magistrate's Court in Johannesburg heard on Monday.

FILE PICTURE: Keenan Mokwena, the man who was involved in an apparent gang-related shooting in Westbury, Johannesburg over the weekend. The community is up in arms as Luke Tibbetts (3 year old) was shot in the head, leaving him on life support. Tibbetts dies in hospital on August 8. Picture: Valentina Nicol

“The court can’t ignore the fact that the community went to the extent of signing the petition,” magistrate Elmarie Engelbrecht said.

“If the accused is released on bail, there will be a public outcry.”

Keenan Mokwena, 28, is charged with pointing a firearm, which led to the shooting in which Tibbetts was killed.

Investigating officer Sergeant Diedelof Fourie told the court that 325 Westbury residents had signed a petition addressed to the National Prosecuting Authority to oppose the bail of the two men involved in the shooting.

Fourie was being questioned by prosecutor Kobus Ehlers, who was opposing bail.

Mokwena’s lawyer, Omphile Kedijang, told the court that the petition referred to the bail application of the man accused of shooting Tibbetts, Lindray Khakhu, 24.

“There is no public protest outside the court as could be seen with him [Khakhu],” said Kedijang.

He said that Mokwena was a complainant in the shooting as he was injured, and that he did not shoot Tibbetts.

“At no stage was he involved in the shooting of the child,” said Kedijang.

Ehlers said the petition referred “to anyone involved in the shooting, even if they were not mentioned by name”.

The court heard earlier on Monday morning that Mokwena and Khakhu had an argument on the day of the shooting, Saturday August 2.

“He [Mokwena] then left and came back with a firearm which he then pointed at him [Khakhu]”, Fourie said.

Khakhu allegedly retaliated and shot at Mokwena, who was driving at the time. Mokwena was shot in his right arm.

A stray bullet hit Tibbetts, sitting in a car with his mother. He died in hospital on August 8 after being placed on life support.

Mokwena opened a case of attempted murder against Khakhu. Khakhu’s friends opened a case of attempted murder against Mokwena.

Ehlers said Mokwena initiated the shooting which led to Tibbetts death.

“Why would he [Khakhu] fire shots at him [Mokwena] if he wasn’t doing anything?” said Ehlers.

Fourie said another reason why Mokwena should be denied bail was because he was arrested on other charges previously while out on bail.

He previously faced charges including housebreaking, car theft, fraud and robbery, but was not convicted due to lack of evidence.

“He was involved in these case while he was out on bail,” said Fourie.

The court heard Mokwena did not have a licence for the gun and was unable to produce the weapon. Fourie said this indicated he could destroy evidence.

Mokwena could further intimidate witnesses.

“It is a small community and everybody knows everyone so there’s a chance that they will meet in the streets,” said Fourie.

Khakhu appeared in the same court on Tuesday charged with the murder of Tibbetts. The case against him was postponed to August 29 for his bail application.

He was arrested after people who witnessed the shooting identified him and reported the matter to the police.

Mokwena’s case was postponed to September 3.

– Sapa