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Firearms dealer Karen Webb fail at second bid for bail

Gqeberha firearms dealer Karen Webb could remain behind the iron gates at the North End Prison pending the finalisation of her trial.

This as Webb's latest bail application based on new facts was dismissed in the city's Magistrates Court on Friday.

Webb has been charged with theft, conspiracy to smuggle firearms, fraud, the unlicensed trading of firearms, providing firearms and ammunition to persons who are not allowed to possess them, and defeating the ends of justice.

Magistrate Tobile Bara found that Webb did not present any new facts to the court.

He said her latest application was made under the guise of "new facts" so that she could have a second shot at getting bail.

Webb presented a voluminous affidavit in response to the investigating officer who opposed her release on bail.

In it, she said that she had co-operated with police by handing over certain documents and her cell phone.

She also said that police were now in possession of a cache of firearms that were stored in Sedgefield and that she had "forgotten" about an e-mail that proved that she did not have the keys to a safe at her premises in which the guns of Chris Evans, owner of Aquila Firearms, had been kept.

In addition, Webb told the court that she had decided to abandon the firearm business and would not be renewing her license.

Also read: IO comes guns blazing at Karen Webb bail hearing

Bara said Webb was unclear on what documents she handed over to the police, and questioned why she would respond now when she had previously not been forthcoming with her firearm inventory list.

Regarding the cell phone that Webb claimed to have handed over to the police, Bara said she handed over a phone without knowing which phone the police required.

He noted that Webb had previously refused to hand over her phone and that her "sudden change of heart" on "her terms" was not a new fact.

Bara said there was no way that Webb could have forgotten about the e-mail in question, especially since the investigating officer made damning allegation about it during the first bail application.

On the issue of Webb abandoning the firearm business, Bara pointed out that she had been dead set on returning to her business, as stated during her first bid for bail.

Webb's attorney, Paul Roelofse said they would appeal against Bara's decision.

Her arrest in February forms part of an ongoing police investigation into how firearms got into the possession of gangsters in the city's northern areas and other provinces.

Besides 76 firearms that had been positively linked to crimes in the city's northern areas and as far as the Western Cape and Gauteng, evidence was led that suggests that 437 of the 900 firearms registered on Webbs Arms are unaccounted for.

The theft charge relates to ten 9mm Glock pistols that went missing from the Aquila Arms’ stock while the cache was stored at her premises.

The case was postponed to 30 July.